Orbital Sciences Corp’s Cygnus demonstration mission to supply the International Space Station is back on track after a small snag. As NASA reports:
Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., will postpone by at least 24 hours the launch of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft on a demonstration mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. The new launch window is targeted for Wednesday, Sept. 18 between 10:50 to 11:05 a.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at Wallops. Rendezvous with the space station remains scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 22. NASA Television will air pre- and post-launch news conferences and provide live launch and rendezvous coverage of the mission.
The postponement is due to a combination of Friday’s poor weather, which delayed roll-out of Antares to the launch pad, and a technical issue identified during a combined systems test held Friday night involving communications between ground equipment and the rocket’s flight computer. The problem has been identified and corrected. The teams are working to understand why the problem occurred.
Cygnus will be the second commercial spacecraft to berth with the International Space Station, following just over a year after SpaceX’s Dragon achieved its demonstration mission. This time, Cygnus will carry a light load of 589 kg of non-essential food and clothing. It will be the first ISS mission to launch from the Wallops Island facility.
Image caption: Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket at Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Orbital Sciences Corporation’s cargo resupply demonstration mission to the International Space Station is scheduled for Sept. 18, 2013, at 10:50 a.m. EDT (Credits: NASA/Brea Reeves).