Orbital Sciences (NYSE: ORB ) is on cloud nine. The space technology company announced today that its Cyngus cargo logistics spacecraft has successfully launched into its intended orbit. The craft will now cruise for four days to the International Space Station, where it will offload 1,500 pounds of equipment before heading back to Earth with up to 1,750 pounds of disposal cargo.
"We are very pleased with the early operations of the COTS demonstration mission, beginning with another on-the-mark launch by Antares," said President and CEO Mr. David W. Thompson in a statement today. "The Cygnus spacecraft appears to be fully healthy and operating as expected during this early phase of its mission. Over the next few days, our Cygnus team, together with our NASA partners, will conduct an extensive series of in-orbit tests to verify the performance of the spacecraft before attempting the rendezvous and berthing operations with the space station. There is clearly still a lot of work in front of us, but the mission looks like it is off to a great start."
The future of Orbital depends on the success of this mission. If everything continues to proceed as planned, Orbital will be set to deliver around 44,000 pounds to the space station over eight missions and three years in a contract worth $1.9 billion.