WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A fourth resupply mission was completed, delivering the largest ever payload by a private rocket company and successfully returning its resupply vehicle to Earth, Orbital ATK the company said in a press release on Monday.
“Orbital ATK made history with the OA-4 mission, delivering a record amount of cargo by a commercial system to the ISS [International Space Station],” Orbital ATK Space Systems Group President Frank Culbertson stated in the release. “From launch to our safe re-entry, the entire Orbital ATK team performed flawlessly on every phase of this mission.”
Culbertson noted the company is preparing for its fifth cargo mission in March.undocked from the space station on February 19 after 72 days. Loaded with about 3,000 pounds of trash and obsolete equipment, the spacecraft made a safe re-entry over the Western Pacific on February 20, according to the release.
The Cygnus was launched on an Atlas V rocket, which uses a Russian RD-180 engines for the rocket’s first stage of operation. A US-made replacement for the RD-180 is expected to begin powering the rocket in 2019.