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New commercial cargo vehicle for ISS gears up for operation

An Orbital Sciences image

TURIN (BNS): Thales Alenia Space has delivered its second Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) to Orbital Sciences Corporation for integration in the Cygnus spacecraft that will transport cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).

The module was shipped from Thales Alenia Space's plant in Turin, Italy to the NASA launch facility on Wallops Island in Virginia, where Orbital will integrate it with the Service Module to form the Cygnus spacecraft that will carry out the first operational resupply mission.

The demonstration mission, with a Cygnus spacecraft using the first PCM unit delivered by Thales Alenia Space in 2011, is scheduled for launch this coming September by Orbital's Antares launch vehicle.

Thales Alenia Space will provide Orbital with seven more pressurized cargo modules, which will ferry crew supplies, spare parts and scientific experiments to the International Space Station. The company is providing a total of nine units under the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) contract awarded to Orbital by NASA.

The PCM unit delivered on Thursday will be followed by two more units in the standard configuration, capable of transporting up to 2,000 kg of cargo, and by five enhanced units, offering cargo capacity of up to 2,700 kg.

The CygnusTM spacecraft comprises a Service Module (SM) from Orbital, and the Pressurized Cargo Module (PCM) developed by Thales Alenia Space.


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