A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket launched after days of delays from Cape Canaveral.
CAPE CANAVERAL — An Atlas V rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Sunday afternoon carrying a Cygnus cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.
High winds and rain had pushed the launch back three times since Thursday’s initial try. After scrubs during launch windows on Thursday and Friday, managers looking at only a 20% chance of good conditions Saturday decided in early afternoon to halt the countdown before fueling the United Launch Alliance rocket, opting to give crews some rest and wait for better weather to come.
Orbital ATK’s Cygnus craft is packed with more than 7,000 pounds of food, spare parts and science experiments for the ISS and its six-person crew. The mission is Orbital ATK’s fourth of 10 under a NASA resupply contract worth more than $2 billion.
The Cygnus returns to flight on the 60th flight of ULA’s highly reliable Atlas V rocket after its last mission aboard Orbital ATK’s own Antares rocket failed seconds after liftoff from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in October 2014.
“We are very proud to be back in this position of getting ready to launch supplies to the International Space Station again,” said Frank Culbertson, president of the Space Systems Group at Orbital ATK, which developed the Cygnus and Antares, on Wednesday. “It’s been a challenge to get back to this point.”
Orbital ATK and United Launch Alliance pulled this flight together within a year of first discussing a partnership, enabling the Cygnus to return to flight months before the Antares could be re-fitted with new engines.
The silver, cylindrical Cygnus will berth in about two-and-a-half days at the ISS.
The space station is still rebounding from a string of resupply failures that began with the failed Antares-Cygnus launch. A Russian Progress ship was lost months later, and a SpaceX Dragon capsule ended up in the ocean after a Falcon 9 rocket disintegrated in June.
Supplies have arrived safely since then, but none launched from the U.S. The station now has enough food to last into April, below the five- or six-month margin NASA would prefer to have.
“We’re not where we’d really like to be relative to our consumables, but it’s not a critical situation at all,” said Kirk Shireman, manager of NASA’s space station program.
More pressing, perhaps, are shortages of certain spare parts, such as a spacesuit jet pack and tanks of high-pressure oxygen and nitrogen to recharge station supplies that haven’t been topped off since the last shuttle mission in 2011.
The Cygnus, named in honor of Mercury Seven astronaut Deke Slayton, also will deliver some holiday cheer to the station’s six-person crew.
“I’m guessing that Santa’s sleigh is somewhere inside the Cygnus,” Culbertson said. “They’re probably excited about their stockings coming up, too.”
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An Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, carrying a GPS satellite for the United States Air Force.
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The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The rocket is carrying a communications satellite for the Mexican government.
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket blasted into space carrying the Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective System satellite.
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The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched an unmanned transport vehicle carrying water, parts and other supplies to the International Space Station. A few minutes after its launch, it entered a preliminary orbit with no problems. (Aug. 19)
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A Delta IV rocket launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station with a communications satellite for the military. Posted July 23, 2015.
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Three astronauts aboard a Soyuz spacecraft successfully launched towards the International Space Station on Thursday after a two-month delay caused by a Russian rocket failure.
Video provided by AFP
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An unpiloted Russian spacecraft is safely on its way to the International Space Station with more than 3 tons of supplies. They’re needed to alleviate a shortage caused by a string of failed missions, including the recent explosion of a SpaceX rocket
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An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying supplies for the International Space Station broke apart minutes after liftoff. As engineers analyze flight data to pinpoint what went wrong, NASA and SpaceX officials emphasize no negligence was involved.
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Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral with the Air Force’s X-37B mini-shuttle, 10 CubeSats and The Planetary Society’s LightSail mission on board.
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SpaceX launches their Falcon 9 rocket into space. The rocket is carrying supplies to the International Space Station, including a pricey Italian coffee maker.
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The Soyuz launched into space Friday with astronaut Scott Kelly who will be on a year-long mission.
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An Atlas V rocket launched Thursday night is part of NASA’s billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun’s magnetic fields.
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NASA’s Atlas V rocket is blasting off with a quartet of science satellites on Thursday night. Check out this animation that shows the rocket deploying in space to study the magnetosphere.
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The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying commercial communications satellites blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex.
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Early risers across much of Arizona were treated to a colorful sight — a pink cloud from a NASA research rocket that was launched Wednesday from a U.S. Army installation in New Mexico. (Feb. 26)
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After a series of delays, SPACEX finally launched its Falcon 9 DSCOVR rocket.
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A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched the U.S. Navy’s MUOS 3 mission.
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SpaceX successfully launched a Dragon cargo capsule into space early Saturday morning. The capsule is filled with supplies, headed for the International Space Station. The launch was crucial following the failed Antares rocket back in October.
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NASA’s unmanned Orion spacecraft blasted off Friday. Its first launch attempt was scrubbed Thursday due to several factors, including wind. NASA hopes the spacecraft will eventually take astronauts to Mars.
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NASA had cameras placed all around the launch site of the Orion spacecraft. Watch the liftoff from several different perspectives.
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Three astronauts are headed towards the International Space Station after a succesful launch of the Soyuz TMA-15M rocket on Sunday.
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Atlas V rocket blasts into space with GPS satellite
Atlas V rocket lifts off with Mexican satellite
Watch Atlas V rocket blast into space
Japan launches cargo shipment to space station
Video: Delta IV rocket launch with USAF satellite
Soyuz rocket launches towards ISS after delay
Russian cargo ship safely en route to ISS
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Atlas V rocket launches with secretive Air Force space plane
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Raw: Pink cloud visible after rocket launch
Watch: SpaceX launches Falcon 9 DSCOVR rocket
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SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully blasts into space
NASA’s Orion launches on second attempt
Watch NASA’s Orion launch from eight different angles
Soyuz rocket blasts 3 astronauts towards ISS
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