NEWS Alert

TWG Celebrates Successful Antares Launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

The evening of Monday, October 17, 2016, witnessed a picture-perfect launch of an Orbital ATK Antares rocket carrying National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) cargo from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to the International Space Station (ISS).

With the assistance of TWG, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA), also known as “Virginia Space,” which operates MARS, obtained a modified special permit from the United States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) to facilitate the space launch operations using the highly advanced “Cygnus” spacecraft operated by Orbital ATK.

The Cygnus is due to arrive at the ISS on Sunday, October 23, 2016, and will deliver over 5,100 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Expedition 49 astronauts Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Kate Rubins of NASA will use the space station’s robotic arm to grapple Cygnus.

John Holdren, senior advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama on science and technology, and Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator, recently highlighted the importance of this work:

“On the International Space Station, we’re working ‘off-the-Earth, for-the-Earth,’ leading a broad international coalition of countries and companies in conducting research and demonstrating technologies that hold great promise for everything ranging from sending human beings to Mars to improving eye surgery to purifying drinking water and making communities more resilient when natural disasters strike.”

Roncevert Almond, partner at TWG and member of the Air & Space Lawyer editorial board, shared in the excitement:

“We are so honored to support Virginia Space and pleased to be engaged in the exciting field of commercial space. I joined with dozens at the Air Force Memorial in Washington to watch the successful launch of the Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft. At the end of the count down, there was a hush and then applause. To realize that our work on the ground is helping to supply and promote research onboard the ISS is an incredible feeling.”

Since 2011, Mr. Almond and TWG have supported VCSFA with facilitating launch operations from MARS under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (“COTS”) Program, including the newly approved missions under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (“CRS”) contracts. The COTS and CRS programs fund commercial space operations that resupply the ISS and are designed to develop new space launch capacity within the United States. MARS, the spaceport overseen by VCSFA, is a full-service, Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) licensed spaceport, offering two medium/heavy lift launch pads.

TWG regularly assists private and public entities with obtaining permits, regulatory deviations, and special authorizations under federal law. For more information please contact Roncevert Almond at or (202) 457-7790.

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