Antares Goes Vertical, Cygnus Cargo Freighter Poised for Nighttime Liftoff May 21 – Photos: Watch Live


Orbital ATK Antares rocket goes
vertical on 
pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops
Flight Facility for the 
OA-9 cargo mission launch
to the 
ISS targeted for May 21, 2018
night launch at 4:39 a.m. EDT. Credit:
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com
Ken Kremer     SpaceUpClose.com     20 May 2018



WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, VA – Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket has gone
vertical with the Cygnus cargo freighter bound for the International Space
Station (ISS) and all systems are GO as the rocket is poised for a nighttime liftoff
from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern shore on May 2.1





And after days of drenching rain storms at
Wallops and along virtually the entire US East Coast forced a 24 hour delay the
launch is now targeted fr what could prove to be a spectacular shy show in the
wee hours of Monday morning, May 21.




Liftoff of the two stage
Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus resupply spaceship is now slated for a 5-minute window that opens at 4:39 a.m. EDT May 21 from
Pad 0A of Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops

Check out our SpaceUpClose
photo gallery of the erected rocket captured during our pad OA tour and remote
camera set up this morning
Click back as
the gallery grows.

Orbital ATK Antares rocket goes
vertical on 
pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops
Flight Facility for the 
OA-9 cargo mission launch
to the 
ISS targeted for May 21, 2018
night launch at 4:39 a.m. EDT. Credit:
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com




If you cant be
here in person, you can watch the launch live on NASA TV:









Live launch coverage
of the OA-9 mission on NASA TV begins at 4:30 a.m. EDT.  




Orbital ATK Antares rocket goes
vertical on 
pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops
Flight Facility for the 
OA-9 cargo mission launch
to the 
ISS targeted for May 21, 2018
night launch at 4:39 a.m. EDT. Credit:
Ken Kremer/SpaceUpClose.com/kenkremer.com




Weather
forecasters say there is a
65-percent probability of
acceptable weather for launch of Antares with Cygnus in the wee hours of Monday
morning.





The main
weather concerns for Monday’s launch attempt are sky screen (essentially local
visibility conditions) and disturbed weather.





A
cold front approaches from the northwest for this evening and early Monday
morning. The southwesterly surface flow around the area of high pressure to the
east will continue to provide a moist airmass over the Wallops region today and
tonight.



The rocket was
rolled out of the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF) late Thursday, May 17
for the 1 mile trip from the rocket assembly facility to the OA launch pad at
NASA Wallops
.






It was erected
into launch position Saturday evening amidst horrible weather conditions.



The rocket
measures 42.4 meters in height and 3.9 meters in diameter.  The Cygnus has a pressurized volume of 27
cubic meters and is 6.39 m in height. It is loaded with 800 kg (1764 lb) of
propellants.  





It was erected
into launch position Saturday evening amidst horrible weather conditions.



The rocket
measures 42.4 meters in height and 3.9 meters in diameter.  The Cygnus has a pressurized volume of 27
cubic meters and is 6.39 m in height. It is loaded with 800 kg (1764 lb) of
propellants.  



The targeted
launch date was adjusted from May 20 to May 21 after the rocket rollout was
completed.



The
Cygnus vessel is jam packed with
over 3.5 tons of science and
supplies bound for the six person multinational crew living and working aboard
the million pound orbiting outpost.



The mission,
alternatively named CRS-9 or OA-9, is Orbital ATK’s ninth contracted cargo
delivery flight to the International Space Station for NASA.



On board Cygnus
are 7,400 pounds (3,350 kg) of cargo including science experiments, research
gear, food, water, spare parts, crew supplies and vehicle hardware
to support the Expedition 55
and 56 crews.



Cygnus will deliver
vital equipment, supplies and scientific equipment to the space station as part
of Orbital ATK’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.






The prior Cygnus cargo
freighter was successfully launched by an Antares 230 vehicle from Wallops on
Nov. 11, 2017 on the OA-8 resupply mission for NASA .






Among the research
experiments on OA-9 are; the space Sextant Navigation investigation testing use
of a hand-held sextant by astronauts for emergency navigation on missions in
deep space as humans begin to travel farther from Earth; the Cold Atom Lab
(CAL) is a new facility that will create a spot ten billion times colder than
the vacuum of space, and could help us answer some of the biggest questions in
physics; and Biomolecule
Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST)
, an investigation to
identify unknown microbial organisms on the space station and understand how
humans, plants and microbes adapt to living on the station.












.






After it departs, Cygnus will also deploy a number of
cubesats from a Nanoracks supplied deployer.



The Cygnus is named the SS J.R. Thompson – after J.R. Thompson, a distinguished leader in the
aerospace industry and a member of the Orbital ATK family.






“Thompson was a distinguished leader in the
aerospace industry who helped shape the strategy and directed the operations of
Orbital ATK’s predecessor company, Orbital Sciences Corporation, for nearly 25
years. Before joining Orbital, Thompson was NASA’s Deputy Administrator from
1989 to 1991,” said Orbital ATK in a statement. 



The cylindrically shaped spaceship will reach orbit some
eight minutes after liftoff and begin an orbital chase



Cygnus will arrive at the ISS on May 24, three days after
launch and a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings.  



“Three NASA astronauts aboard the station will
manage the spacecraft’s arrival,” said NASA. “Expedition 55 Flight Engineer
Scott Tingle will grapple the spacecraft, backed by Ricky Arnold, and Drew
Feustel will monitor Cygnus systems during its approach.”



“They will use the space station’s robotic
Canadarm2 to grab the spacecraft and ground controllers will command the
robotic arm to rotate and install Cygnus onto the station’s Unity module.”



NASA televised prelaunch science and mission
briefings over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday.



The public is invited to watch the launch for
free from the NASA Wallops Visitor Center which opens at 1230 AM on May 21.



“Additional locations for catching the launch
are Robert Reed Park on Chincoteague Island or Beach Road spanning the
area between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. Assateague Island National
Seashore/Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia will not be
open for viewing the launch,” says NASA.

Map of locations and times on the U.S. East Coast for viewing the Antares rocket launch. Credit: Orbital ATK




The launch could be visible to tens of
millions of spectators all along the US East Cost depending on clear weather
conditions.



Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of Orbital ATK,
SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and more
space and mission reports direct from the Wallops
Flight Facility, Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,
Florida.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing
Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news:
www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com –
twitter @ken_kremer –
ken
at kenkremer.com








Ken Kremer

Watch for Ken’s continuing onsite coverage of NASA, SpaceX, ULA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and more space and mission reports direct from Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Stay tuned here for Ken's continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about space topics. Ken’s photos are for sale and he is available for lectures and outreach events.

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