Home / Science / Antares Rocket Launches NASA Cargo to Space Station in Dazzling Predawn Liftoff

Antares Rocket Launches NASA Cargo to Space Station in Dazzling Predawn Liftoff

WALLOPS ISLAND, Virginia — A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket illuminated adult a predawn sky over Virginia Saturday (Nov. 17) to launch a secretly built Cygnus spaceship filled with NASA reserve (and even some ice cream) to a International Space Station. 

The Antares rocket soared into a clear, cold skies over Virginia’s Eastern Shore carrying an uncrewed Cygnus booster filled with tons of scholarship experiments, food and other critical reserve for a space station’s crew. Liftoff occurred during 4:01 a.m. EST (0901 GMT) from Pad-0A of a Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport here during NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility after dual days of check due to bad weather.

“What an superb launch,” said Joel Montalbano, NASA’s emissary hire module manager, after a gorgeous liftoff. Cygnus is now on lane for an attainment during a hire on Monday (Nov. 19), he added. 

There’s about 7,400 lbs. (3,400 kilograms) for a station’s three-person Expedition 57 organisation packaged aboard a Cygnus spacecraft. That includes uninformed fruit and ice cream, a acquire provide for a astronauts, Montalbano pronounced before launch. [See some-more extraordinary photos of a Antares launch]

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket rises off carrying a Cygnus NG-10 load boat on a resupply goal to a International Space Station on Nov. 17, 2018. The goal launched from Pad-0A during NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.
Credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA

If all goes well, a load boat will arrive Monday during 5:20 a.m. EST (1020 GMT) and be prisoner around robotic arm by hire astronauts. The mission, called NG-10, is a tenth Cygnus moody for NASA underneath a blurb agreement with Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman named a Cygnus a S.S. John Young in respect of a famed NASA wanderer John Young, who flew on a Gemini 3 and 10 missions, Apollo 10 and 16, and a STS-1 and STS-9 space convey flights. Young died in Jan during age 87.

There’s some severely weird scholarship rising into space on Cygnus.

Tara Ruttley, NASA’s associate arch scientist for microgravity research, pronounced there’s adequate scholarship rigging for some-more than 250 opposite experiments designed by scientists and students on Earth.

That includes a protein-growth examine by a Michael J. Fox Foundation to examine a structure of a LRRK2 protein, that has been concerned in a course of Parkinson’s disease.

“Knowing a fugitive structure of this sold protein could assistance urge healing diagnosis of that disease,” Ruttley said.

Another examination is promulgation a first-ever “lab-on-chip” examination to a space hire to examine how flesh cells atrophy in weightlessness. Still another group from Penn State University will use a small centrifuge on a space hire to exam how to make petrify in space for destiny bases on a moon or Mars.

And afterwards there’s a Refabricator. This combo 3D printer and recycler is designed not usually to imitation items, though also recycle rubbish cosmetic behind into feed batch for a printer like a arrange of proto-replicator from “Star Trek.”

“It’s a pivotal partial of NASA’s in-space production tech demo roadmap,” Ruttley said.

The Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus load booster toward a International Space Station continues a initial theatre bake during liftoff.
Credit: NASA TV

Cygnus will stay parked during a space hire until February, when it will be filled with rabble and expelled to intentionally bake adult in Earth’s atmosphere. But before Cygnus destroys itself, it will muster a array of small, student-built cubesats and 105 small “chipsats” — small wafer-like satellites that magnitude only 1.4 inches (3.5 centimeters) per side.

“They’re like small little circuit play that can confederate potentially a lot of opposite sensors,” Ruttley said, adding that a chipsat exam aims to see how they survive. “They’re, like, unequivocally tiny.”

Today’s launch of Antares and Cygnus comes only one day after another robotic load ship, Russia’s Progress 71 vehicle, launched on a possess goal to a space station. That goal launched scarcely 3 tons of food, fuel and other supplies.

Progress 71 will arrive during a space hire on Sunday (Nov. 18) with Cygnus to follow tighten behind Monday morning.

One thing not on house Cygnus or a Progress 71: a Thanksgiving cooking for a station’s crew.

Astronauts traditionally observe a American Thanksgiving holiday as one of many celebrations to symbol a different cultures of hire crews. The Expedition 57 crew, for example, includes American Serena Auńon-Chancellor, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev and German commander Alexander Gerst of a European Space Agency.

So because no turkey cooking on Cygnus or Progress? There’s a elementary answer: The dinner’s already there. It was shipped adult on an early resupply goal for a Expedition 57 crew, Montalbano pronounced before Saturday’s launch.

“We like to devise ahead,” he added.

Editor’s note: This story was updated during 7 a.m. EST to embody NASA statements from a post-launch press conference. You can watch a arrivals of Progress 71 and Cygnus live here, pleasantness of NASA TV. NASA’s Progress 71 webcast will start Sunday during 1:45 p.m. EST (1845 GMT). The Cygnus NG-10 attainment webcast will start during 4 a.m. EST (0900 GMT).

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook. Original essay on Space.com.

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