Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cygnus spacecraft successfully launches from Cape Canaveral

ABOVE IMAGE: Atlas V rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA TV
4:51 PM UPDATE: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Sunday.

2 PM UPDATE:  There now is a 70 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for Sunday's launch.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - Weather delayed the launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station for the third time on Friday.


A new launch date and time has been re-scheduled for Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 4:44 p.m. with a 30 minute launch window.



Atlas V Launch Weather


According to the latest weather forecast from the United States Air Force 45th Weather Squadron, there is a 40% percent chance overall of acceptable weather conditions for Sunday's launch.  The primary weather concerns for launch are cumulus clouds and ground winds. If the launch is scrubbed again today, favorable weather conditions for launch improve to 70% on Monday.

Orbital ATK Mission


This mission marks the first launch of a Cygnus spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket and will be Orbital ATK’s fourth operational mission (OA-4) to the International Space Station for NASA under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract. The mission also marks the debut of the enhanced Cygnus, which will carry approximately 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms) of cargo to astronauts aboard the space station.

Orbital ATK has three CRS missions scheduled in 2016 to support the International Space Station. A second Cygnus/Atlas V launch will take place next spring from the Cape, followed by the return of operations to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia later next year aboard an upgraded Antares rocket.

Cygnus OA-4 Payload


The Cygnus OA-4 payload will carry food, water and clothing for the astronauts along with science experiments and equipment, and some student projects.

The science cargo includes a new life science facility that will support studies on cell cultures, bacteria, and other micro-organisms; a microsatellite deployer and the first microsatellite to be deployed from the space station; experiments that will study the behavior of gases and liquids and clarify the thermo-physical properties of molten steel; and evaluations of flame-resistant textiles.


Watch the Atlas V Launch Live Online:


A live broadcast of the launch by NASA TV will begin just before the scheduled launch time.