Orbital Sciences, SpaceX Conclude NASA COTS Mission; Charles Bolden, Frank Culbertson Comment

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International Space StationNASA has concluded the Commercial Orbital Transportation Service program with participation from Orbital Sciences and Space Exploration Technologies.

The two companies helped develop the rockets and spacecraft under the COTS initiative to design a budget space transport that can ferry supplies and humans from Earth to the International Space Station, NASA said Wednesday.

“We’ve ended the outsourcing of space station resupply work and brought those jobs back home to America,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in remarks at the agency’s Washington headquarters.

Orbital Sciences, which developed the Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket for COTS, will begin cargo resupply missions to the ISS next month.

Frank Culbertson, executive vice president and general manager for Orbital’s advanced programs group, said the COTS framework relied on NASA expertise in safety operations standards, human spaceflight workforce and other technicalities.

“Orbital’s successful completion of the COTS program, including two launches of the new Antares rocket and the first mission to the International Space Station by the Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft, was the direct result of the outstanding collaboration between the NASA and Orbital engineering and program management teams,” he said.

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