Orbital ATK's Resupply Mission Launch For ISS Delayed

Posted: Dec 4 2015, 4:06am CST | by , Updated: Dec 4 2015, 9:55pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Orbital ATK's Resupply Mission Launch for ISS Delayed
Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft is prepared for Thursday's launch from Kennedy Space Center. (NASA Photo)
  • ISS Resupply Mission delayed due to Inclement Weather

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An ISS resupply mission had its launch delayed due to inclement weather.

A resupply mission that was about to have its rocket launched underwent a procrastination due to bad weather. The whole process was supposed to take place from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was called off after the drizzle and cloudy weather conditions didn’t disappear on their own.

The Cygnus spacecraft weighed 7000 pounds and it contained provisions for the crew, paraphernalia and scientific experiment apparatus. The next launch date has been set for Friday. If the launch is successful, it will set a precedent for NASA to send resupply missions to the ISS on a commercial basis.

Last year in October, an orbital rocket was blown to smithereens a couple of seconds into liftoff. So it is risky business. Then in June, another rocket launched by Elon Musk’s SpaceX simply disintegrated en-route to the ISS.

Up until now, Orbital has completed two successful liftoffs while SpaceX has accomplished six such journeys. They have both failed at least once.

The two corporations have divided a $3.6 billion contract that they have with NASA. The competition is coming from the Sierra Nevada Corporation. NASA is only too happy to continue with Orbital and SpaceX since they both have high success rates.

And when seen from a political scenario, NASA favors American companies that are buddies with each other on a national level. Orbital uses an Atlas V rocket. This is fueled by Russian RD 180 engines.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are responsible for the joint mission. Previously, the Orbital ATK cargo delivery mission was all set to launch on Thursday. But now the whole thing has been put off till Friday, according to Bloomberg.

The term Cygnus also had the name S.S. Deke Slayton II given to the spacecraft. This was purely due to the contributions made by the astronauts participating in the US space program.

“With the naming of this spacecraft, we continue our commitment to honor the late Donald ‘Deke’ K. Slayton, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and a champion of America’s commercial space program and leadership in space,” said Frank Culbertson, President of Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group. “We are pleased that the enhanced Cygnus that bears his name will be able to provide up to 53 percent more in cargo weight to the International Space Station than our previously flown standard version.”

The Cygnus spacecraft has among other things, food, clothes, crew equipment and spare parts on board. Other missions for the Orbital ATK are scheduled for next year. The fine art of launching and landing rockets is not to be taken lightly.

Each step of the way, it is highly coordinated and nothing is left to chance. The very nuts and bolts of the situation are micromanaged to the extent that even the most infinitesimal details are choreographed on a technological basis.

Thus what we see on screen as a successful launch mission is in fact the result of a thousand and one different factors conspiring under the strict tutelage of human technologists and experts.

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