The Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket successfully blasted off from Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Wallop islands, Virginia carrying a Cygnus cargo ship atop at 7:19 a.m. EST on Sunday, November 12, 2017. The Antares 230 rocket lifted off from launchpad OA-8 carrying the cargo ship to be deployed at the International Space Station (ISS). This was cargo program’s first use of the Wallops Flight Facility in more than a year. After leaving Pad 0A, Antares propelled Cygnus spaceship on a trajectory designed to, essentially, catch up with the ISS which was orbiting above at a speed of some 17,500 mph (28,163 km/h) some 251 statute miles (404 km) above the Earth.
The cargo ship had a payload of 7,385 pounds consisting of scientific experiments and cargo including water crew supplies and many more. Earlier on Sunday, Orbital ATK, the Dulles based company that has a contract to provide resupply to the space station, had said that the Cygnus supply craft was “in great shape” and that everything was working perfectly. Lina Mc Dermott of Frankford, Delaware, who was one of the hundreds watching the launch event form Wallops’ visitors center, said that the view was worthy as well was amazing.
Actually, the launch was scheduled to take place on Saturday, but it was called off at the last minute. A small aircraft had intentionally entered into the exclusion zone just two minutes before the final countdown. On Sunday also, Orbital ATK faced similar kind of problem but this time they manage to clear off the things and the launch was successful. Kurt Eberly, the Antares deputy program manager, said that if there was a silver lining to the stoppage, it enabled Orbital to demonstrate that it could bounce back quickly from a late scratch
Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems, said in press release that their Antares team celebrated the successful launch of Cygnus cargo ship and they are also already well into building vehicles for the next two missions. He said they are ready to launch again whenever Cygnus needs them. The Cygnus cargo ship will provide cargo to the six crew members currently present at the ISS.
One of the astronauts on the space station tweeted that pizza and ice-cream are on the way and they are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Cygnus cargo vehicle. Also, he added that the resupply ship, along with the treats, was packed full of scientific equipment and supplies. Camille Alleyne, a science planner at the Johnson Space Center informed that the research materials and equipment carried up in the Cygnus would help support some 300 investigations that “span all the scientific disciplines that ISS supports, including human research, physical sciences, biology and biotechnology, technology demonstration, Earth and space science and education. Sunday’s launch was the 8th successful commercial Cargo run to the ISS by Orbital ATK for NASA.