Orbital ATK launching cargo ship for NASA

A Cygnus supply ship is about to launch on Monday (May 21) with the help of an orbital ATK Antares rocket. The primary objective of this launching is to send up more than 3 tons of NASA cargo to the International Space Station, and NASA will be broadcasting the whole activity live. 

The rocket is all set to lift off at 4:39 am EDT. The missile will be launched from Pad-0A of the mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport which is located at the NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia towards its destination to the International Space Station. The NASA officials assume that the weather condition will be 65 percent alright for lifting the rocket into space. However, they are concerned with the cloud cover issue which might reduce launch visibility.

The NASA officials have further added that if the weather is conducive for lifting purpose on Monday, then all the people US East Coast will be thrilled to see the launching process. In addition to this Joe Rao who is a columnist has said that people should be patient to see something special after the rocket has been launched into the sky.

According to the columnist, the first stage of the rocket might appear as if a fast moving object is flying through the low portion of the sky. The second stage would look a bit flashier which would seem as if there is a smoky contrail tail behind the object which is illuminated by the sun. This will give the impression as if a comet is passing by. The second stage activity will start after four minutes and twenty seconds from the lift-off. Although the launching is scheduled pretty early, it will be a worthwhile experience to watch out for.

Monday’s launch was decided to be made on May 20. But NASA, as well as Orbital ATK, postponed them. It was done to look into some issues and also go through specific technical inspections before launching it finally.

This flight will be Orbital ATK’s eighth time that it will be sending cargo to the International Space Station for NASA. Apart from carrying food and other supplies, the rocket will also take with it certain types of equipment that are necessary to conduct specific scientific experiments inside the Space Station. The material that it will send will involve packets of concrete, metal sextants. It will also include equipment form the Cold Atom Laboratory that will bring about the coldest human-made spot in the universe.