NASA’s Cygnus launch on the International Space Station this week could be visible over much of the East Coast depending on weather conditions.
An unmanned Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft will launch on Thursday on one of the company’s Antera rockets from NASA’s Wallops Flight facility in Virginia. According to the space agency, the weather was pushed back from Tuesday due to unfavorable weather, which would occur no earlier than 9:38 pm EDT on Thursday.
If weather conditions permit, the rocket will appear 90 seconds after its launch in Washington, DC, and 150 seconds after liftoff in New York City.
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NASA reported that the spacecraft would be loaded with about 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware. Space.com reports that a new space toilet is among the objects to be taken to the space station.
The Cygnus spacecraft named SS Kalpana Chawla is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting space lab on October 4, after NASA astronauts killed in the Columbia disaster. 4. NASA’s Expedition 63 commander Chris Cassidy will chase Cygnus and flight engineer Ivan. Wasker of Roskosmos will act as a backup, ”NASA said in a statement. “After capturing Cygnus, the mission will send ground commands to the robotic arm of the mission control station in Houston to rotate at the bottom of the station’s Unity module and install it.”
Cygnus will leave the space station in mid-December. NASA said in its statement, “After departure, the Sapphire-V experiment will be carried out prior to Cygnus Dorbit and the disposal of several tons of waste during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.”
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Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiments (Sapphire) are designed to investigate the major flame evolution and material flammability limits in space. The space agency states, “The experiments were ignited after completing its primary International Space Station supply mission, when it completed its primary International Space Station supply mission, and sent the station to Earth.”
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