Antares Rocket Launch at Wallops Delayed Until Sunday
Oct 15 2016
United States space agency NASA has delayed the launch of a cargo-supply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) saying Hurricane Nicole could hit an important part of the organisation's infrastructure in Bermuda.
Orbital has conducted several prior launches as part of this mission.
Wallops officials first deployed the mobile tracking station in 2012, ahead of the inaugural Antares rocket launch in April 2013, following the signature of an agreement between NASA and the government of Bermuda.
"Just driving down to Wallops, after not having been here for a while - it's back where we belong", he said.
The rocket will carry 5-thousand pounds of supplies to the International Space Station in the Cygnus spacecraft.
A view of the Antares rocket (left) undergoing final preparations for the upcoming launch.
For those waiting with nail-biting anticipation to see NASA and Orbital ATK manage to make the five-minute window for the launch, NASA will be weighing up its chances by televising two pre-launch broadcasts this weekend. The company is now targeting a return to flight in 2016 with a total of 6 missions thru 2018 to fulfill the company's CRS1 agreement with NASA to deliver supplies to the ISS.
Cygnus is an ideal vessel for the tests since it burns up on re-entry to the Earth and cannot be used again. And last week, Hurricane Matthew delayed the plan by a day after heavy rain and lightning strikes prevented crews from performing certain operations inside a processing building in Virginia. The company specifically designed the Cygnus to be able to fly aboard different vehicles that that might offer something that the Antares does not. Mission managers have not said how long the current delay will be.
The space agency relies on its Bermuda station to provide flight data and tracking, ensuring the Cygnus space capsule is successfully placed into orbit and en route to the ISS.