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Orbital's Cygnus: SpaceX has a competitor!

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  1. Sep 20, 2013 #1

    D H

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    Orbital Science Corporation launched its Antares rocket Wednesday, carrying its Cygnus spacecraft into space and on its way to the ISS. Capture by the robotic arm is scheduled for 7:25 AM eastern time. The approach will be visible from the ground in the northern US and southern Canada. NASA TV will show this live starting at 4:30 AM for those of who can't see those dots in the sky (NASA's view will be from a much closer perspective).

    cygnus-cargo-logistics-spacecraft.jpg

    Satellite flybys website: http://www.spaceweather.com/flybys/
    NASA TV website: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html#.Ujzv6BZiigw
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2013
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  3. Sep 20, 2013 #2

    berkeman

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    What are the advantages of each of the competitors?
     
  4. Sep 20, 2013 #3

    D H

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    Orbital is a publicly traded corporation. SpaceX is privately held. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Being publicly traded can get in the way of innovation and long term time horizons. Being privately held increases risk.

    Orbital contracts some work out while SpaceX much prefers to build everything in-house. Again, advantages and disadvantages to each.

    SpaceX had a big head start on Orbital. NASA originally awarded the COTS contracts to SpaceX ($278 million + milestones, $378 M total) and Rocketplane Kistler ($207 million). NASA canceled the RpK contract after RpK failed to meet obligations (but after paying RpK $32 million). NASA opened a new competition for that second slot, which Orbital won ($170 M + milestones, $288 M total). That left Orbital 2 years and $100 million behind SpaceX.

    The end result: SpaceX has a more powerful rocket and a more capable vehicle.
     
  5. Sep 21, 2013 #4
    But you usually have good cash investment no? Though SpaceX is owned by billionare Brandson right?

    Is this the craft here?
    http://www.orbital.com/NewsInfo/Publications/Cygnus_fact.pdf [Broken]
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2017
  6. Sep 21, 2013 #5

    D H

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    Out of order response:

    That's it.

    Berthing is in about seven and half hours from now (7:30 AM EDT). There are lots of opportunities for people in the northern US and southern Canada to see passes of the ISS and Cygnus overhead.


    It's Elon Musk, not Richard Branson. You need to get your billionaire space club membership straight. This list is by no means complete.


    Company: Armadillo Aerospace
    Owner: John D. Carmack
    How he got rich: Video games (Doom, Quake, Rage, and others)
    Goal: Space tourism

    Company:Bigelow Aerospace
    Owner: Robert Bigelow
    How he got rich: Vegas, baby!
    Goal: Space tourism

    Company: Blue Origin
    Owner: Jeff Bezos
    How he got rich: Amazon (founder)
    Goal: Rather tight lipped

    Company: Planetary Resources, Inc.
    Principals: Peter Diamandis, Eric C. Anderson
    Key investors: Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Ross Perot Jr., Charles Simonyi, James Cameron
    How they got rich: Space tourism, Google, inheritance, Microsoft, movies
    Goal: Space mining

    Company: Space Adventures, Ltd.
    Owners: Eric C. Anderson, Peter Diamandis
    How they got rich: Space tourism
    Goal: Space tourism

    Company: Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (Space-X)
    Owner: Elon Musk
    How he got rich: Zip2, PayPal
    Goal: Perhaps everything

    Company: Stratolaunch Systems
    Owners: Paul Allen, Burt Rutan
    How they got rich: Microsoft (cofounder), aerospace engineering
    Goal: Space tourism

    Company: Virgin Galactica
    Owner: Richard Branson
    How he got rich: Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines
    Goal: Space tourism
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  7. Sep 21, 2013 #6

    jhae2.718

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    The Cygnus spacecraft also burns up in reentry, similar to Progress, as far as I know.

    SpaceX is also pursuing CCDev (Commercial Crew Development -- manned spaceflights to the ISS). Here, their main competitor is Boeing with CST-100.
     
  8. Sep 22, 2013 #7

    D H

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    Correct. The European Space Agency's ATV and Japan's HTV are also expendable vehicles.
     
  9. Sep 22, 2013 #8
  10. Sep 22, 2013 #9

    D H

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  11. Sep 29, 2013 #10

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    Cygnus was successfully captured at 7:01 AM EDT. Congrats, Orbital!
     
  12. Sep 29, 2013 #11

    berkeman

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  13. Sep 29, 2013 #12

    jhae2.718

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    Congrats to Orbital.

    And on the SpaceX side, congrats on a good launch of Falcon 9 v1.1.
     
  14. Oct 23, 2013 #13

    jhae2.718

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    http://www.floridatoday.com/proart/20131022/space/131022004/cygnus-completes-first-visit-iss?pagerestricted=1 [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  15. Oct 23, 2013 #14

    berkeman

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    That link appears to require a subscription to the paper...?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  16. Oct 24, 2013 #15

    jhae2.718

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    Hmm, it works for me, but I also have JavaScript and cookies disabled so it could be a badly-designed paywall.
     
  17. Oct 24, 2013 #16

    D H

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