Kurt Eberly hardly has any hair and continues to lose more. His job is to start, twice a year, a…
Kurt Eberly hardly has any hair and continues to lose more. His job is to start, twice a year, a metal cylinder filled with several tonnes of deliveries, at high speeds to the International Space Station, 250 miles (400 kilometers) above the ground.
Eberly heads Antares rocket program at Northrop Grumman, the US space company that shares SpaceX as a valuable client: NASA.
Saturday at four o’clock in Wallops Island, Virginia, Eberly in this NASA control room was dedicated to rocket launches smaller than those from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Countdown, three, two, one. Then at the exact moment, the 138 meter long (42 meter) Antares rocket entered the dark sky and blasted into an infernal ravine.
On top of the rocket was a capsule called Cygnus, manufactured in Italy and loaded with 7,400 kg of equipment including meals, clothes for the next crew of astronauts, technical equipment and about two dozen scientific experiments.
After three and a half minutes of flight, the first stage ̵
1; which burned all of its fuel – unloaded and fell in the Atlantic.
The engine in the second leg took over. At T + 9 minutes, the rocket was 212 kilometers high, somewhere northeast of Puerto Rico, when the launch leader announced, in a gentle monotone: “And we have Cygnus payload difference.”
spacecraft was separated at a speed of 7.5 kilometers per second.
On Monday, the spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station and locked at. 07:31 (1231 GMT) and marked the 10th Cygnus mission so far.
– Explosion in 2014 –
“Each of these launches, you know, it really gets your heart pumping and I have about three heart attacks each launch countdown,” Eberly AFP told a few weeks earlier in the clean room there Cygnus is prepared for flight, not far from the launcher.
“It’s still very stressful to just know how much energy is packed in this rocket and everything must be released properly.”
On Saturday, after the successful launch he performed his appreciation for heart problems.
“I think there are five, five heart attacks. I lost even more hair. But now it’s an incredible sense of relief and happiness.”
These unmanned load launches have become so common that they are almost banal. This year, ISS will be returned by Russian spacecraft three times, Japanese ships once and US freighter five times, between SpaceX and Northrop Grumman.
But space is still a dangerous business.
The latest reminder was that a Soyuz missile failed on October 11 on its way to the outskirts and forced the two men aboard to spray shortly after launch. No one was injured.
In 2014, the unmanned rocket carrying the third Cygnus mission exploded seconds after the start, and the smoke cloud it created was visible to miles.
It was “like a bowel,” said Eberly.
It took another two years for other Antares to launch.
About Space Mastracchio, former NASA astronaut and leading operator at Northrop G Rumman’s commercial resupply services program.
“You move faster than a bullet, in fact, you probably travel 10 times faster than a speed ball, five miles per second when you reach an orbit,” he said.
“There are temperature extremities from cryogen all the way up to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit that the materials and machines need to work underneath,” he added.
“So it can see routine but it’s not a very simple thing to do. Spaceflight is difficult.”
It takes six months and 40 people to mount an Antares rocket. Each Cygnus mission costs NASA approximately $ 263 million on average.
– Trash removal –
Cargo ships remain at the space station between one and six months. Empty them and fill them up to the crew of the astronauts and cosmonauts, who are tasked with carrying out scientific experiments on basic cleaning and maintenance aboard the recycled outpost.
“The best day of circulation is when Cygnus arrives. But it’s also a good day when Cygnus leaves, why? Because it removes the trash, says Mastracchio.
” As a crew you live with this trash for months and months when Cygnus removes the trash, the space station is a better place.
Few people on earth probably think about such details when considering a rocket launch.
Among the spectators launched Saturday was a family of Bolivian immigrants. They drove hours from North Carolina to witness the launch.
“We are from a very poor country. We can never see this type of event. I’m so happy to be here, “said Marlene Ancalli. 19659002]” This is my dream, “she said, when the rocket disappeared in the sky.
ico / ksh / mdo
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Cygnus Freighter launches to ISS
Wallops Flight Facility , USA (AFP) November 17, 2018
An unmanned Cygnus cargo ship bursts off Saturday against the International Space Station and marked the second 24-hour supply mission designed to carry food and supplies to astronauts living in space.
An Antares rocket powered by Northrop Grumman lit the night sky at 4:01 AM (0901 GMT), as it drove the ship loaded with 7,400 pounds (3,350 kg) of space gear.
On Friday, a Russian Soyuz rocket launched its first cargo mission to the space station since a Soyuz rocket carr … read more