Nov 06 2014

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Orbital Sciences to outsource at least one CRS mission

They’re considering two US companies and one ESA option.

Per the article:

Going forward Orbital’s plan is twofold. It will outsource one, perhaps two launches to another company to launch the Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS. Currently Orbital is considering two U.S. companies and one European. They would not elaborate on who those companies are but since there are only two U.S. options we know that they are considering SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA). Of the two options, SpaceX would most likely be the cheaper option based on published pricing. The European option could include launching on a Arianespace Soyuz from French Guiana. According to Orbital all of the options have launch availability from the second quarter of 2015 onward.

Since SpaceX is the other CRS contractor, it would be relatively easy from a NASA contracts’ standpoint to switch the work from one company to the other within the CRS contract vehicles. Much more difficult to add a new subcontractor like ULA to the mix at this point. SpaceX is the obvious choice here, and not just because they’re the least expensive option.

The second part of the plan, as reported earlier, is to accelerate the replacement for the AJ-26 rocket.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/06/orbital-sciences-to-outsource-at-least-one-crs-mission/

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