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Antares launch from Virginia late Friday – Spaceflight Now

Antaesraket stands at the launch plate 0A Wednesday at Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit:…

Antaesraket stands at the launch plate 0A Wednesday at Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA / Joel Kowsky

A low-ceiling, heavy cloud and rainy Thursday forecast has led NASA and Northrop Grumman officials to drive back the launch of an Antares rocket and a space-based supply vessel from Virginia’s Eastern Shore until Friday morning.

Starters at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility decided Wednesday morning to launch a launch tomorrow morning and instead aim to lift off the Antares rocket Friday at. Cygnus cargo carrier against the international space station.

The prepared launch Friday is timed for when the space station’s orbital plan – or field track – is above the launch base in Virginia.

The delay sets up dual launches on Friday from the opposite world to revive the space station in orbit more than 250 miles (400 miles) above the ground.

Less than nine hours after the Antares will burst from the American East Coast, a Russian Soyuz rocket takes place in space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:14. EST (1814 GMT). Soyuz will send a Progress resupply and refueling shipping to the space station.

Suppose both shipping missions start Friday, they are due to arrive at the station on Sunday.

Weather forecast at Wallops informed executives during a start-up review Wednesday and official weather forecasts predicted a 90 percent probability that conditions early on Thursday morning would violate the Antares launch launch limiting criteria.

The weather should be improved slightly later on Thursday, with forecasts predicting a 55 percent chance of low ceilings or ground winds will prevent lifting on Friday’s five-minute launch window.

Antares launch team will meet again on Thursday morning to determine if the forecast is good enough to motivate continuing with countdown attempts on Friday morning. Another launch opportunity is available Saturday when better weather is forecast, with less than 5 percent chance of out-of-bounds conditions.

If the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket lifts off Friday, the unladen Cygnus cargo ship is in the launch payload is scheduled to reach the space station Sunday at 4:35 am EST (0935 GMT). Astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Alexander Gerst will use the station’s Canadian robot arm to capture Cygnus, who will be on the Unity module on the track research record for a three-month stay.

Progress MS-10 shipping vessel is scheduled to dock with the station’s Zvezda service module at 2.30 EST (1930 GMT) Sunday about 10 hours after Cygnus arrival.

If both missions reach the station on Sunday it will be the first time in the research lab’s nearly 20 year history that two dealers have made freight deliveries on the same day.

The space station is briefly manned by a three-person crew after a Russian cosmonaut and a NASA astronaut interrupted their launch on October 11 following a S0yuz booster error. Another three-man crew will start from Kazakhstan on a Soyuz rocket on December 3.

Sunday’s return-to-return cargo ships will make a hectic day, but the station crew, led by space organization Astronaut Alexander Gerst will be able to handle the arrivals, “said Joel Montalbano, NASA Deputy Space Station Program Manager.

After the Auñón chancellor Cygnus catches the robotic arm – using Gerst – the station’s commander will help Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev to monitor Progress’s radar-controlled automatic approach.

“Alexander Gerst will help with his Russian colleague for the Progress vehicle,” Montalbano said Wednesday. “Normally, it’s an automated dock, but they must be prepared to continue and make a remote dock.”

Montalbano said that Gerst has received some refresher training to help Prokopyev with Progress docking, a job that usually goes to a second Russian crew member.

“We do not see any problems,” Montalbano said on arrival of the same day. “We have been working on the crew. We will adjust their schedules a little, but no major disturbances in the schedule.”

If Antares launches release Saturday, Cygnus Spacecraft’s rendezvous comes with the space station to be delayed until Monday, just over half [19659003] With just three people at the station – instead of the typical five or six – Montalbano said that some research activities were reprioritized, but the activities were not significantly affected.

“As far as science, with two smaller people … you will do some less activities on board, but it’s only for a short time, and actually the crew has picked it up and they’ve really worked hard and picked up The things that had to be done, he said. “Science or research that is time-critical, it is done, and we reprimand other activities, so from that point of view, we are doing very well.”

The Cygnus Supply Ship is committed to deliver 7 215 pounds (3 273 kg) of supplies and experiments to the space station, including a plastic recycling unit and 3D printers to promote space production capacity and an experiment studying how the human body is able to perceive movement, orientation and distance changes in microwaves.

Resupply mission will mark the 11th launch of a Cygnus spacecraft transporting cargo to the International Space Station, incl. usive a test flight 2013 and a failed Antares launch in 2014 that destroyed the supply vessel seconds after the liftoff.

The mission is called NG-10, and it is the first Cygnus flight since Northrop Grumman acquired Orbital ATK, which developed and flew the previous cargo visits during a 11-launch agreement with NASA worth a t nearly $ 2.9 billion.

Starting NG-12, launched in late 2019, Northrop Grumman will launch a subsequent commercial resupply service contract, which guarantees the company at least six additional flights by 2024.

SpaceX also launches cargo to NASA Space Station , and the Space Agency has lost Sierra Nevada Corp. to begin reviving the research complex by the end of 2020.

Next SpaceX resupply launch is set for 4 December from Cape Canaveral. [19659003] Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1 .

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