Northrop Grumman’s robotic Cygnus cargo spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station after two launch postponements.
Northrop Grumman launched a robotic Cygnus cargo capsule to the International Space Station today, marking one giant leap for a small satellite built by students at the University of Washington and Seattle’s Raisbeck Aviation High School.
The 7-pound HuskySat-1 was among 8,200 pounds of supplies, equipment and scientific payloads packed aboard the Cygnus for liftoff atop Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket at 9:59 a.m. ET (6:59 a.m. PT) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast. Hundreds of onlookers cheered as the rocket rose into sunny skies after a trouble-free countdown.
“Good launch all the way around,” launch conductor Adam Lewis said.
HuskySat-1, which is about the size of a loaf of bread, is the UW’s first student-built satellite to go into space. It’s designed to be sent out on its own early next year, to test a new type of pulsed plasma electric propulsion system as well as a high-bandwidth communication system. The K-band communication system was built by Paul Sturmer, a former UW graduate student who now works at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture.
High schoolers at Raisbeck built HuskySat-1’s miniaturized camera system, which will send down low-resolution, black-and-white photos of Earth. Data will be transferred via antennas installed atop UW’s Johnson Hall.
Almost four tons of supplies, hardware and science payloads are heading to the International Space Station after today’s launch of a robotic Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo ship.
The spacecraft, dubbed the SS Roger Chaffee in honor of one of the astronauts killed in the 1967 Apollo 1 launch-pad fire, was sent into orbit from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast at 4:46 p.m. ET (1:46 p.m. PT) atop Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket. The afternoon launch could be seen from a wide area of the East Coast’s mid-Atlantic region.
Cygnus’ 7,600-pound shipment includes experiments aimed at manufacturing high-quality optical fiber in zero-gravity, as well as nanoparticles that could someday be used for drug delivery. A host of nanosatellites are on board and due for deployment either from the space station or from the cylindrical Cygnus craft itself.
Two uncrewed cargo craft are now en route to the International Space Station, thanks to the launch of a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spaceship atop an Antares rocket.
Liftoff came right on time at 4:01 a.m. ET (1:01 a.m. PT) today at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA said the Antares’ ascent should have been visible from a stretch of America’s East Coast ranging from Massachusetts to the Carolinas, given acceptable weather conditions and viewing elevation.
A round of applause could be heard at Wallops’ launch control center when spacecraft separation was announced.
The rocket’s red glare came less than 15 hours after Russia’s robotic Progress spaceship began its trip to the space station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The close timing was the result of a couple of weather-caused delays for the Cygnus launch. The Progress is due to rendezvous with the station on Nov. 18, followed by the Cygnus’ arrival on Nov. 19.
Orbital ATK sent its robotic Cygnus cargo spaceship on its way to the International Space Station today, loaded up with more than 7,200 pounds of supplies, equipment and science experiments.
The two-stage Antares rocket rose from its launch pad from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 4:44 a.m. ET (1:44 a.m. PT), lighting up the predawn sky for observers across a wide swath of the mid-Atlantic coast.
Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket today sent a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on the first step of its journey to the International Space Station with 7,400 pounds of supplies and experiments, including a nanosatellite that its backers say will become the first “space nation.”
The Asgardia-1 satellite, which is roughly the size of a loaf of bread, is the product of an effort organized by Russian scientist Igor Ashurbeyli. It’ll store thousands of files uploaded by online fans who have signed up as Asgardia’s “citizens.”
Orbital ATK’s Antares two-stage rocket sent a robotic Cygnus cargo spaceship on its way to the International Space Station today, nearly two years after a launch pad failure forced an engine overhaul.
The Antares rocket blasted off from NASA’s Wallops Fllight Facility in Virginia right on time, at 7:45 p.m. ET (4:45 p.m. PT). NASA said the launch could have been seen by skywatchers across a wide swath of the East Coast, weather permitting.
Ten minutes after launch, the cylindrical Cygnus craft separated from the second stage, heading for the station with 5,100 pounds of supplies. After a series of checkouts, the Cygnus will approach the station for a rendezvous on Oct. 23.
This was the first Antares launch since October 2014, when the rocket and its payload blew up just seconds after liftoff. The failure was traced to a turbopump failure in one of the Antares’ refurbished 40-year-old Russian engines. In order to return to flight, Orbital ATK had to replace Antares’ engines with upgraded RD-181 engines from Russia. Wallops’ Pad-0A also had to be repaired.
In the meantime, Orbital ATK launched two Cygnus ships on space station resupply missions from Florida late last year and early this year, using United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rockets.