Research

Rogue aircraft forces NASA to scrub Antares launch from Wallops

Share
Credit NASA  Bill Ingalls

A rocket carrying thousands of pounds of supplies for the International Space Station will be launched Saturday morning from Wallops Island.

A rocket launch on Virginia's Eastern Shore should be visible across Northern Virginia on Saturday morning.

Sunday's launch will be Orbital ATK's fourth ISS resupply mission. The next launch attempt is set for Sunday, Nov. 12 at 7:14 a.m. EST.

The culprit, a small personal aircraft that entered the restricted airspace was within a 6 miles (10 kilometers) offshore flying at an altitude of about 500 feet, which could have been unsafe for the lift-off. "We are now de-tanking and will be ready to go (Sunday) morning".

The cargo-carrying Cygnus spacecraft is expected to reach the space station (ISS) now on Tuesday, Nov. 14 with 7,400 pounds of supplies and scientific equipment, including a high-school student science experiment for studying how peanut plants grow in space.

It was cold even by the standards of rocket science.

Northern Virginia will be under a freeze warning at the time of the launch, with temperatures in the 20s, but the forecast now predicts clear skies through Saturday. If it had fallen to 20 degrees or cooler, engineers may have considered postponing the liftoff to head off the risk of any hardware freezing, an Orbital official said during a Friday press conference.

It will be the shipping firm's first launch from Virginia in more than a year - its last resupply mission used another company's rocket flying from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

When it happens, the launch will be Orbital's eighth launch under its NASA contract, originally valued at $1.9 billion.

Share