Orbital ATK To Launch Station Supplies From Florida, Not Virginia
Private space company Orbital A-T-K plans to launch supplies to the International Space Station from Florida’s space coast.
Orbital ATK generally launches from a pad in Wallops, Virginia but a 2014 explosion destroyed the company’s Antares rocket – prompting a grounding of the fleet. In the meantime, Orbital ATK used rockets from United Launch Alliance, launched from Florida, to send cargo to the station.
While the Atares rocket successful returned to flight earlier this year, the decision was made to launch the next resupply mission atop a ULA Atlas V which can carry more cargo to space.
NASA lost two resupply shipments in a little over a year. A SpaceX mission exploded about a minute after liftoff last year, and last week a Russian rocket carrying supplies was lost.
Orbital ATK has a $1.9 billion dollar contract to launch supplies to the International Space Station for NASA as a part of the Commercial Resupply program. SpaceX also has an agreement with the space agency. NASA extended those contracts through 2024, and added another private space company to the program: Sierra Nevada Corporation
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