Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft has been launched by the commercial spaceflight company named Orbital ATK on Sunday, 12th November at 7:19 am EST. The Antares rocket took off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility situated in Wallops Island, Virginia. The spacecraft is loaded with 7,400 pounds of crew supplies, hardware, and research equipment and it will reach the International Space Station on 14th November at about 4:50 a.m. ET. If it reaches as per the scheduled time, then it will be the one of the shortest Cygnus cargo mission conducted till now.
As per the information, this is the fifth flight of an enhanced Cygnus spacecraft, and the second using Orbital ATK’s upgraded Antares rocket. The spacecraft is named in honor of Gene Cernan, who was the last man to step on the Moon and he passed away in January.
This resupply mission will help the scientists to carry out new research work and will contribute to about 250 science and research studies. The new studies include antibiotic resistance study, high-speed data transmission study, communication technology development research and more.
The Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD) project will study high-speed optical transmission of data and small spacecraft proximity operations. It is carrying a cool box which filled with special space food and lettuce grown in the space of the scientist.
“It was great to put a rumble in the air here and to get Cygnus off the ground and on its way to the International Space Station,” Dan Hartman, the International Space Station’s deputy program manager, said during a post-launch briefing. “It was just a miraculous launch and a flawless countdown.”
The report says it was first planned to launch on Saturday, I.e., 11th November but at the last moment due to some reason the launch was canceled as a personal airplane illegally entered into the airspace which is a restricted area.