Antares ORB-1

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Known as Orb-1, this Jan. 9, 2014, launch marked the third successful launch of the Antares program, and the second fully-loaded standard Cygnus cargo module to resupply the ISS. RRS continued to provide the dedicated support of two project managers, along with a ground operations manager and crew, mission engineer, civil engineer, and test engineer, as well as significant time from various Range operators and engineers to meet the continual needs of the program.

As part of what is now a standard package of Antares program support, services provided for the Orb-1 mission included precision tracking radar, telemetry operations, Range timing and communications, radio frequency monitoring, surveillance radar operations, Range air and sea surveillance, NASA communications, weather forecasting, meteorological operations, optical systems, Range scheduling services, and postproduction deliverables for prelaunch and launch operations. All requirements were met and all deliverables were completed on schedule.

Although all RRS pre-mission testing and support was completed in preparation for the anticipated launch date of Dec. 19, 2013, a cooling system failure aboard the ISS caused the Orb-1 launch to slip to January. Another launch day was scrubbed due to space weather interference exceeding Antares launch criteria. Once these outside obstructions were resolved, the RRS staff kicked into gear, providing exceptional launch day support and getting the job done while meeting all mission requirements.

A key component of successful Range support is the maintenance and enhancement of the Bermuda downrange tracking station. This station incorporates telemetry, radar, and command, compensating for loss of signal from the Wallops Range during the solid-fueled stage two engine burn.

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