Cygnus orbital freighter on deck

Artistic rendering of a Cygnus freighter rendesvous with the International Space Station. Credit: Orbital Sciences

Like SpaceX and its Falcon-series lifting rockets (and Dragon cargo spacecraft), Orbital Sciences is busy bending metal for upcoming flight tests of their Taurus 2 rocket and Cygnus space freighter next year.

Like SpaceX, Orbital currently has an eight-flight contract with NASA to supply cargo to the International Space Station, with hints that Cygnus could be modified to carry astronauts as well.

Should these endeavors prove successful, it is my hope that the palatte of space transportation options will have broadened to the point that we’ll have a healthy private space transportation market. 

Exciting times, indeed.

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