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Belated resupply mission launches to ISS

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket that will carry supplies to the International Space Station stands ready at complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Monday, April 17, 2017, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch is scheduled for Tuesday morning and for the first time, NASA cameras will provide live 360-degree video of the rocket heading toward space. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

A delayed resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying more than 7,600 pounds (3,450 kg) of food, water, clothing, equipment, and science experiments successfully launched from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday, April 18.

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo vehicle was launched on a 191-foot (58-meter) Atlas V rocket at 11:11 AM EDT (1511 Universal Time).

While Orbital has its own Antares rocket, this mission used ULA’s Atlas V because it has a heavier cargo carrying capacity.

Initially scheduled for last month, the mission, a partnership between NASA and commercial spaceflight company United Launch Alliance (ULA), was delayed because of problems with the Atlas V’s hydraulic system.

ULA itself is a partnership between two companies, Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The launch was broadcast live on Youtube by NASA, ULA, and Orbital ATK providing a 360-degree panoramic view to observers.

Viewers could watch the launch with or without virtual reality goggles. Anyone using a personal computer, tablet, or smartphone had access to the 360-degree view, along with the ability to manipulate the video, altering the perspective to place themselves close to the rocket as it lifted off, launch commentator George Diller said.

“We are sorry we missed Easter, but we’re pretty sure they’ll be excited about their Easter baskets and whatever great things International Space Station science put on board for them,” noted Orbital ATK Space Systems group president Frank Culbertson regarding the ISS astronauts.

This launch was the seventh of ten resupply missions running through 2018 by Orbital ATK, according to a $3.1-billion contract between the company and NASA.

NASA also has resupply mission contracts with SpaceX and with Sierra Nevada Corporation. The latter’s first mission, using its Dream Chaser, will launch in 2019.

Cygnus and its supplies will arrive at the ISS on Saturday.

Laurel Kornfeld

Laurel Kornfeld

Staff Writer
Laurel Kornfeld is a freelance writer and amateur astronomer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science in astronomy from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program.
About Laurel Kornfeld (980 Articles)
Laurel Kornfeld is a freelance writer and amateur astronomer from Highland Park, NJ, who enjoys writing about astronomy and planetary science. She studied journalism at Douglass College, Rutgers University, and earned a Graduate Certificate of Science in astronomy from Swinburne University’s Astronomy Online program.