An unmanned Atlas V rocket launched successfully from Cape Canaveral Tuesday morning, carrying a Cygnus cargo ship containing supplies for the International Space Station. The flight was initially slated for March but delayed due to issues of hydraulics and ground equipment. The OA-7 mission represents the first execution of a RapidLaunch™ service contract, with contractual agreements being finalized 5 months ago. Orbital has also experienced a failed mission.
Orbital ATK previously bought two Atlas V rides to the space station to fill a gap while Antares was retrofitted with new engines.
The launch of the OA-7 mission marked the third ULA mission in support of ISS cargo resupply. For instance, SpaceX - NASA's other commercial resupplier for the ISS - had to ground all flights from September 2016 to January of this year, when one of the company's Falcon 9 rockets exploded during a fueling procedure on a Florida launchpad. (300 kg) more than what could be packed aboard for launch on an Antares, said Frank Culbertson, a former astronaut and president of Orbital ATK's Space Systems Group.
The next Cygnus flight, OA-8E, is planned for October 2017.
"We're really, really going to miss hearing your golden voice", Cabana said. The actual spacecraft has been named the S.S. John Glenn, the late astronaut known for being the first American (and later, oldest) to orbit the Earth. Also, a tribute banner featuring a picture of John Glenn is aboard the capsule.
According to the USA space agency NASA, the new experiments include an antibody investigation that could increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs for cancer treatment and an advanced plant habitat for studying plant physiology and growth of fresh food in space. However, this new plant habitat will be much more self-sufficient, requiring less work by the crew. CubeSats are standardized space probes that are typically not much bigger than a shoebox and are great for doing small-scale research in space. It should reach the ISS in about four days. So the Cygnus will stay out of the way until the incoming crew is safely onboard the ISS. It will rendezvous with the ISS on Saturday, April 22, where astronauts will use the robotic Canadarm2 to capture it and install it onto an ISS docking port. Capture is expected at approximately 6:05 am ET. "It looks like we nailed the orbit once again". It's the largest cargo load every carried by a Cygnus module. It will burn up in the atmosphere.
But first, the capsule just has to get to the station.
It leaves Cape Canaveral aboard an Atlas V rocket that is primed and ready and Joe Fust of the United Launch Alliance says, "The last day, the launch day is nearly the easiest day". However, scientists are confident about suitable weather conditions for launch.
Tuesday's launch marked the first time NASA, in coordination with the ULA and Orbital ATK, has broadcast a rocket launch with a 360-degree view, which should "virtually place the public at the base of the rocket during launch". So you can feel like you're there without actually enduring the Florida heat.