The next launch of an Antares medium-class launch vehicle that was developed in Ukraine is scheduled for November 15 under a NASA contract for provision of commercial resupply services to the International Space Station (ISS), the CFTS reports, citing the Interfax Ukraine news agency.
According to a statement on the NASA website, Northrop Grumman’s 10th commercial resupply services mission to deliver NASA science investigations, supplies, and equipment to the International Space Station aboard its Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled for 11:49 (Kyiv time) on November 15.
This launch will be the tenth since 2013. The ninth launch took place in May 2018.
Ukraine’s American partner in the project, U.S-based Orbital ATK, which was formerly the largest American supplier of aerospace and defense equipment, was officially transformed into Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, a new division of the U.S-based defense corporation Northrop Grumman Corp, in June. Northrop Grumman Corp. announced the acquisition of Orbital ATK for USD 7.8 billion in September 2017.
Ukraine has been working with the United States on the Antares launch vehicle project since 2008. The first-stage core of the Antares launch vehicle was designed by the Yuzhnoye design bureau (Dnipro, Ukraine) and manufactured at the Yuzhmash state enterprise (Dnipro, Ukraine). Ukraine’s Khartron-ARKOS, Khartron-YuKOM, Chezara, and Rapid companies are also involved in the project.
According to a statement that the American company made in 2018, Antares launch vehicles are needed for two launches per year until the year 2025. Four launches are planned before the end of 2018 and six during the period from 2019 to 2024.
The United States is planning large-scale modernization of its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) at the total cost of USD 85 billion, Ukraine’s new partner in the Antares project, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, could become the main supplier of new engines for ICBMs.