Thursday, March 23, 2017

United Launch Alliance Atlas V Rocket Launch Pushed Back Again

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida - The launch date of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket carrying Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida has been pushed back again due to second hydraulic issue discovered on the ground support equipment. No new launch date has been set.

Orbital ATK Mission

This mission marks the third launch of a Cygnus spacecraft aboard an Atlas V rocket and will be Orbital ATK’s seventh operational mission (OA-7) to the International Space Station for NASA under the Commercial Resupply Services contract. The mission also marks the debut of the enhanced Cygnus, which will carry approximately 7,225 kilogram (15,928 pounds) of cargo to the International Space Station.

The Atlas V rocket will place the spacecraft on a precise path to reach the space station about four days after launch. Cygnus will then approach close enough for the station's 55-foot-long robotic arm to grapple the supply craft and connect it to one of the ports on the orbiting laboratory.

The spacecraft, powered by its own set of solar arrays, will remain connected to the station until June. During that time, astronauts will unload the Cygnus, including research dedicated to range of fields such as astronomy, biology, crystal growth and technology development. The spacecraft also will carry an advanced plant habitat for growing vegetables in orbit.

ABOVE IMAGE: An Atlas V rocket carrying an Orbital ATK Cynus spacecraft lifts off from Space Launch Complex-41 launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Credit: NASA TV