With Orbital looking at using a 3rd party launch service for their CRS contract, they have stated that Cygnus was designed with this in mind.

Does anyone have information or ideas on how they accommodated this feature?

I imagine the 3 key areas are Power, Data and Structural. P & D is probably covered by a standard, but I can't imagine structural is easy todo quickly.


Cygnus has two main components.

The Pressurized cargo compartment is built by Alenia-Thales in Italy. The same folk who built the pressure vehicles for most of the ISS modules and the ATV.

The bus or service module is based on a satellite design Orbital had on the shelf. It is based on GEOStar Satellite Bus and the Dawn spacecraft.

Thus the interface between Cygnus and the launcher is through the bus, which is a commercial product designed to be launched on commercial launchers.

A clever approach, which is common to the entire Cygnus/Antares stack. Use existing vendors, technologies, and components, just assemble them in an interesting fashion.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah, didn't think of a Satellite Bus. Do you know what kind? $\endgroup$
    – tl8
    Nov 6 '14 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ Orbital's GEOStar Satellite Bus and Dawn $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Nov 7 '14 at 12:33

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