Cygnus CRS OA-8E

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Cygnus CRS OA-8E
ISS-53 Cygnus OA-8 grappling to the ISS.jpg
Cygnus OA-8E arrival at the ISS after grappled by Canadarm2 on 14 November 2017
Mission type ISS resupply
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2017-071A
SATCAT no. 43006
Mission duration Final: 36 days, 34 minutes
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft S.S. Gene Cernan
Spacecraft type Enhanced Cygnus[1][2]
Manufacturer Orbital ATK
Thales Alenia Space
Launch mass 6,172 kg (13,608 lb)[3]
Start of mission
Launch date 12 November 2017, 12:19:51 (2017-11-12UTC12:19:51) UTC[4]
Rocket Antares 230[2][5][6]
Launch site MARS LP-0A
Contractor Orbital ATK
End of mission
Disposal Deorbited
Decay date 18 December 2017, 12:54 (2017-12-18UTC12:55) UTC[7]
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Inclination 51.6 degrees
Berthing at ISS
Berthing port Unity nadir
RMS capture 14 November 2017, 10:04 UTC[8]
Berthing date 14 November 2017, 12:15 UTC[8]
Unberthing date 5 December 2017, 17:52 UTC
RMS release 6 December 2017, 13:11 UTC[9]
Time berthed 21 days, 5 hours, 37 minutes
Mass 3,338 kg (7,359 lb)[10]
Pressurised 3,229 kg (7,119 lb)[10]
Unpressurised 109 kg (240 lb)[10]

Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 8E Patch.png

Cygnus CRS OA-8E, also known as Orbital ATK CRS-8E, was the ninth flight of the Orbital ATK unmanned resupply spacecraft Cygnus and its eighth flight to the International Space Station under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. Orbital and NASA jointly developed a new space transportation system to provide commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS). Under the Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program, then Orbital Sciences designed and built Antares, a medium-class launch vehicle; Cygnus, an advanced maneuvering spacecraft, and a Pressurized Cargo Module which is provided by Orbital's industrial partner Thales Alenia Space.[11]


Launch of Cygnus CRS OA-8E on 12 November 2017

The COTS demonstration mission was successfully conducted in September 2013, and Orbital commenced operational ISS cargo missions under the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) program with two missions in 2014. Regrettably, the third operational mission, CRS Orb-3, was not successful due to spectacular Antares failure during launch. The company decided to discontinue the Antares 100 series and accelerate the introduction of a new propulsion system. The Antares system has been upgraded with newly built RD-181 first-stage engines to provide greater payload performance and increased reliability.[5]

In the meantime, the company had contracted with United Launch Alliance for an Atlas V launch of CRS OA-4 in late 2015 from Cape Canaveral, FL and with a second Atlas V Cygnus launch in 2016.[5][6] The company had planned Cygnus missions for the first (CRS OA-5), second (CRS OA-6) and fourth quarters (CRS OA-7) of 2016. Two of these flew on the new Antares 230 and one on the aforementioned second Atlas V. These three missions enabled Orbital ATK to cover their initial CRS contracted payload obligation.[6] This particular mission, is known as OA-8E, is part of an extension program that will enable NASA to cover the ISS resupply needs until the Commercial Resupply Services 2 contract enters in effect. It is called OA-8E rather than OA-8, because the switch to a mix of Atlas V and the more powerful Antares 230 enabled the company to cover its original contract with just 7 flights, even counting the Orb-3 failure, and thus the E indicates that it actually is an extension above the originally contracted payload transport.[12]

Production and integration of Cygnus spacecraft is performed in Dulles, Virginia. The Cygnus service module is mated with the pressurized cargo module at the launch site, and mission operations are conducted from control centers in Dulles and Houston.[11]


This was the eighth of ten flights by Orbital ATK under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA, and is considered an extension over the originally contracted flights. This was the fifth flight of the enhanced-sized Cygnus PCM.[6]

In an Orbital ATK tradition, this Cygnus spacecraft was named the S.S. Gene Cernan after one of NASA's Apollo astronauts, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan (1934-2017), the last man (as of 2017) to walk on the Moon and one of only three humans to visit the Moon (in orbit or on the surface) twice.[13]


Total cargo mass: 3,338 kg (7,359 lb)[10]

  • Pressured cargo with packaging: 3,229 kg (7,119 lb)
    • Crew supplies: 1,240 kg (2,734 lb)
    • Science investigations: 740 kg (1,631 lb)
    • Spacewalk equipment: 132 kg (291 lb)
    • Vehicle hardware: 851 kg (1,876 lb)
    • Computer resources: 34 kg (75 lb)
  • Unpressurized cargo: 109 kg (240 lb)


  1. ^ Bergin, Chris (22 February 2012). "Space industry giants Orbital upbeat ahead of Antares debut". NasaSpaceflight (not affiliated with NASA). Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Orbital ATK Team on Track for Fall 2015 Cygnus Mission and Antares Return to Flight in 2016". Orbital ATK. 12 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  3. ^ "Cygnus OA-8 Mission: Fact Sheet" (PDF). Orbital ATK. FS004_17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Cygnus "S.S. Gene Cernan" En-Route to Space Station after Sunday Morning Commute to Orbit". 12 November 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b c Gebhardt, Chris (14 August 2015). "Orbital ATK make progress toward Return To Flight of Antares rocket". Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d Leone, Dan (17 August 2015). "NASA Orders Two More ISS Cargo Missions From Orbital ATK". Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Mission Update: OA-8 Space Station Cargo Resupply". Orbital ATK. 18 December 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Installed on ISS for Critical Supplies Delivery". 14 November 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Cygnus OA-8 Cargo Craft Departs ISS after Three-Week Stay for CubeSat Deployment & Re-Entry". 6 December 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d "Overview: Orbital ATK CRS-8 Mission" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Cygnus Fact Sheet" (PDF). Orbital ATK. 24 March 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 14 August 2015.
  12. ^ Leone, Dan (20 August 2015). "NASA Considering More Cargo Orders from Orbital ATK, SpaceX". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  13. ^ "S.S. Gene Cernan OA-8 Cargo Delivery Mission to the International Space Station" (PDF). orbital ATK. Retrieved 14 November 2017.

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