A Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft lifted off from the NASA Wallops Spaceport facility on the Virginia coast this morning and is now on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with more than 8,200 pounds of science investigations and cargo. The brilliant successful launch illuminated the pre-dawn sky at 5:32 am this morning. The rocket was visible across a large part of the Mid Atlantic.
Launch was originally set for 5:50 am on Sunday, November 6, but was scrubbed due to a fire alarm in the mission control center.
The Cygnus spacecraft being used for this mission is named the S.S. Sally Ride, in honor of the first American woman in space.
NASA Television will provide live coverage of this spacecraft as it approaches the ISS. Live coverage will begin on Wednesday, November 9, at 3:30 am; Cygnus is due to arrive at the ISS at 5:05 am. Installation coverage will resume at 7:15 am.
Once Cygnus arrives at the ISS, NASA Astronaut Nicole Mann will use the station’s robotic arm to grab Cygnus while NASA Astronaut Josh Cassada will monitor telemetry during rendezvous, capture, and installation on the Earth-facing port of the Unity module of the ISS.
Many research investigations are launching to the ISS as part of this mission. Among them are studies to explore the 3D biological printing of human tissue in space, a study taking advantage of microgravity to better understand catastrophic mudflows that can occur after wildfires, an investigation to see how microgravity influences ovary function, and an experiment that studies if changes plants make when they grow in microgravity are passed on in their seeds to their next generation.