A picture-perfect launch brought a rocket over the Mid Atlantic today, helping bring thousands of pounds of science and supplies to astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS.) Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft left the launchpad at 4:46pm today atop an Antares rocket. The rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Atlantic coast using Pad 0A. The rocket launch was visible for hundreds of miles in the heavily populated I-95 corridor.
Cygnus is scheduled to arrive at the ISS around 5:30 am on Friday, April 19. At that time, ISS Expedition 59 astronauts Anne McClain of NASA and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus, while NASA’s Nick Hague monitors telemetry. The spacecraft will stay at the space station until July.
Today’s launch was Northrop Grumman’s 11th cargo flight to the space station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. Known simply as Mission NG11, the cargo on Cygnus will support dozens of new and existing scientific investigations in space, around the ISS, and inside the ISS.
Another launch is scheduled for October 19. Flagged as NG12, that mission will use an Antares rocket to bring another Cygnus cargocraft to the ISS. Northrop Grumman does have the capability of adding a third rocket to the ISS this year should NASA require it.