Science & technology
Orbital launches cargo ship to space station
Publish Date: Jul 13, 2014
Orbital launches cargo ship to space station
This picture provided by NASA shows the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket launching from Pad-0A with the Cygnus spacecraft on board at NASAs Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. AFP Photo/NASA
  • mail
  • img
newvision

ORBITAL Sciences Corporation on Sunday launched its unmanned Cygnus cargo carrier on a journey to resupply the astronauts living aboard the International Space Station.

The spacecraft lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia at 12:52 pm (1652 GMT) aboard a gleaming white Antares rocket.

A NASA commentator described the launch as a "flawless 10-minute ride to orbit."

The spacecraft is packed with 3,653 pounds (1,657 kilograms) of food, equipment, science experiments and tools, Orbital Sciences Corp. said.

The launch marks the second of eight missions the company has contracted with NASA, and is the third journey by Orbital to the International Space Station after a successful demonstration trip last year.

This mission, known as Orb-2, was initially supposed to launch in May, but a Russian-built rocket engine in the Antares rocket failed during a prelaunch test, causing a delay.

A new flock of satellites, food and supplies for the crew, experiments for growing arugula in space, and a pump for the Japanese module to replace one that failed are among the items on board the spacecraft.

The Cygnus should arrive at the orbiting outpost on July 16.

American astronaut Steve Swanson and crewmates aboard the station will reach out with the ISS's robotic arm to grab the cargo ship, aided by NASA mission control in Houston, Texas. The capture is scheduled for 6:37 am (1037 GMT) and the berthing of the ship to the station is set for 8:45 am (1245 GMT).

Orbital Sciences and SpaceX are the two private US companies that have won major contracts with NASA for multiple missions to carry supplies to the International Space Station.

Orbital's deal is worth $1.9 billion and SpaceX's contract is $1.6 billion.

Orbital's cargo ships burn up on reentry into Earth's atmosphere, unlike SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, which makes an intact splash landing in the ocean.

 

Orb-3 is scheduled to launch in November, and three more Cygnus missions are planned for 2015.

NASA lost its capacity to reach the space station after the 30-year space shuttle program ended in 2011.

SpaceX and Orbital now make regular resupply journeys with their unmanned cargo ships. Europe and Russia also have their own spaceships that can tote equipment and provisions to the research outpost.

In order for astronauts to get there, nations must buy seats aboard Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $70.7 million each. The spaceship carries three people at a time.

Several American companies are competing to be the first to complete a crew vehicle that will restore US access to the station in the next few years.

AFP

Related stories

Uganda to launch its first space observer

New capsule to ferry astronauts to space unveiled

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
One year and counting: Mars isolation experiment begins
Six people shut themselves inside a dome for a year in Hawaii on Friday, in the longest US isolation experiment aimed at helping NASA prepare for a pioneering journey to Mars....
Key Apple music exec steps down
A key executive for Apple's music service who came to the US tech giant with its acquisition of Beats has left the company, Apple said Friday....
Apple event set for Sept 9 in San Francisco
Apple on Thursday sent out invitations to a Sept. 9 media event, hinting that Siri virtual assistant software in its mobile devices will play a role....
Facebook celebrates one billion users in single day
Facebook boasted of a new benchmark Thursday in its seemingly inexorable march to Internet ubiquity: a billion people used the social network in a single day....
Windows 10 spreads to more than 75 million devices
Microsoft said Wednesday that Windows 10 has spread to more than 75 million devices since the new operating system was released less than a month ago....
Facebook adding virtual assistant to Messenger app
Facebook on Wednesday began testing a Messenger app virtual assistant that the leading social network said goes beyond artificial intelligence programs already on the market....
Do you support KCCA'S move to ban campaign posters from the city?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter