Atlas 5 rocket sends cargo ship to space station

A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket rises from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday, sending an uncrewed Orbital ATK Cygnus commercial cargo capsule to the International Space Station. Two Microsoft HoloLens headsets were aboard. (Credit: NASA TV)

After waiting out Florida’s weather for three days, United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket lofted supplies to the International Space Station today for the first time ever.

The Atlas rose from its launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 4:44 p.m. ET (1:44 p.m. PT), sending Orbital ATK’s uncrewed Cygnus crew capsule into orbit. The space station’s commander, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, watched the launch from orbit.

Among the record-setting 7,700 pounds’ worth of supplies, experiments and hardware on board are two of Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented-reality headsets. Once they arrive, the station’s astronauts will try them out as wearable aids for in-space operations.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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