Technical issues postpone launch of ULA Atlas V with OA-7 mission to ISS
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced on Wednesday, March 22, that the seventh flight of a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station had been postponed.
This follows a March 20 statement announcing that the launch would take place no earlier than March 27. At that time ULA stated they needed additional time to troubleshoot a hydraulic issue that was uncovered on ground support equipment required for launch.
It appears at this time that while engineers were working that issue, this new problem was encountered as the Colorado-based company stated: “While completing testing for a ground support hydraulic condition discovered during prelaunch testing, a different issue with a booster hydraulic line was observed.”
NASA confirmed that a new booster hydraulic issue had been discovered a short time later.
ULA is presently working to produce a strategy with which to proceed, after that the company has stated that a new launch date will be announced. Meanwhile, both the Atlas V 401 launch vehicle and S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft are secured. The “enhanced” Cygnus spacecraft has been filled with an estimated 7,600 pounds (3,447 kilograms) of cargo, crew supplies, and experiments to the orbiting laboratory.
As noted, this was the seventh operational flight under the $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract that Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK has signed with NASA.
When this mission does take to the skies of the Sunshine State it will lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41, located in Florida. This will mark the third time that a Cygnus spacecraft has launched atop ULA’s highly-successful Atlas V rocket.
“Orbital ATK is fully coordinated with, and supportive of, ULA as they work through their technical issue,” Frank DeMauro, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Advanced Programs Division told SpaceFlight Insider. “Cygnus is ready for launch once the Atlas V issue is resolved. The spacecraft remains in good health as we continue preparations for a successful mission and work to determine a new launch date.”
Stay tuned to SpaceFlight Insider for more updates as they are made available.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.