Today, on February 20, the next successful launch of the Antares launch vehicle from the Wallops cosmodrome (Virginia) took place. This is the fourteenth launch of the Northrop Grumman Corporation's launch vehicle on the International Space Station, as part of the NASA program.
Acting Head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine Mykhailo Lev congratulated the specialists of Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, YuMZ PO and Khartron-ARKOS NPO on the successful completion of all the tasks.
"The successful launch of the Antares launch vehicle has once again shown the high efficiency of cooperation of domestic space enterprises ... I hope soon the Ukrainian cooperation of enterprises will produce a 100% domestic product - a medium-class launch vehicle, which will become the flagship of our rocket industry for the coming years," Mikhail Lev.
The NG-15 mission is being carried out to replenish the International Space Station (ISS). The Cygnus will deliver approximately 3.6 tons of materials and equipment to the station.
In particular, the SBC-2 supercomputer, created by Hewlett-Packard specialists and NASA engineers, will be sent to the ISS. The first version of this system (SBC-1) was a conventional serial supercomputer packed in an ISS-compatible case. It was installed aboard the station in 2017 to test whether it can operate in zero gravity. The ship will also bring instruments to the station to study the benefits of creating an artificial retina in space, study changes in muscle structure in worms, instruments for growing high-quality protein crystals, as well as a radiation detection system and a regenerative life support system.
In Northrop Grumman tradition, this Cygnus spacecraft also has a name of its own, this time in honor of Katherine Johnson, a NASA mathematician, an African American woman who overcame barriers of gender and race and performed the calculations that were critical to the success of numerous manned space flights.
The Cygnus spacecraft will remain docked to the ISS for three months, after which it will return on its way with a disposal cargo weighing about 3.7 tons.
The NG-15 mission will also launch several CubeSats from Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi and 30 ThinSats satellites.
ThinSats is a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) information program sponsored by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Administration for grades 4-12. These satellites were built by students from 70 schools in 9 states.
Since 2009, YUZHMASH began work on the creation of the main structure of the first stage of the Antares LV. The enterprise manufactures the stage of the launch vehicle for cooperation with Ukrainian enterprises, including KB Yuzhnoye, Khartron-ARKOS, Kievpribor, Khartron-YUKOM, CHEZARA, RAPID.