The Antares/Cygnus mission slated to go off in November has been named in honor of a veteran astronaut. Former ISS astronaut and currently the senior director of operations, commercial resupply services program for Orbital ATK, Rick Mastracchino announced at a press conference at the Wallops Flight Facility Wednesday that Mission OA-8 has been named in honor of astronaut Gene Cernan. Cernan joined NASA as one of 14 astronauts selected in October 1963. He piloted the Gemini IX mission, where he became the second American to walk in space. Cernan’s second flight was on Apollo 10 where he filled the position of lunar module pilot for the first comprehensive lunar-orbital qualification and verification flight test of an Apollo lunar module. His third and final flight came as the commander of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon for the United States. Cernan logged 566 hours in space with more of 73 of those spent on the surface of the moon.
Cernan passed away on January 16, 2017.
In a news release Orbital said Cernan’s role in the development of Americas space program ushered in a new era of human spaceflight that continues to make new scientific discoveries through the International Space Station. His commitment to exploration and discovery make him an ideal honoree for the OA-8 Mission.