ATK provided the second stage motor for Sunday’s successful launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares™ rocket on its second NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS).
Liftoff occurred at 12:52 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The ATK motor was a CASTOR 30B, which was upgraded from the CASTOR 30 that boosted two prior Antares missions to the ISS.
“ATK’s CASTOR 30B motor provided the additional thrust needed to deliver more cargo to the ISS crew,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager of ATK Aerospace Group’s Defense and Commercial division. “This advanced solid rocket motor is a great example of how we can provide innovation to our customers to help them meet their emerging needs.”
The CASTOR 30B motor was developed to increase the payload capability for the Antares vehicle. The 30B motor is longer, has a reduced internal insulation thickness and provides 25 percent more thrust. Designed as an upper stage, it can function as a second or third stage depending on the vehicle configuration.
On future launches, the CASTOR 30/30B motors will be replaced with a CASTOR 30XL, which will enable Antares to carry even more cargo.
This launch was the second of eight Antares cargo delivery missions to the ISS under Orbital’s CRS contract. Orbital is under contract to deliver up to 20,000 kilograms of food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments to the ISS.