Spaceflight Insider

GALLERY: Cygnus spacecraft soars spaceward toward the ISS

The Antares rocket with the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft lifts off pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, to begin its journey to the International Space Station. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

The Antares rocket with the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft lifts off pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, to begin its journey to the International Space Station. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

On Aug. 10, 2021, Northrop Grumman launched its NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft atop the company’s Antares rocket into Virginia’s perfectly blue skies.

Liftoff of the two-stage, 139-foot (42.5-meter) Antares 230+ rocket took place at 6:01 p.m. EDT (22:01 UTC) from Wallops Island, Virginia. It was the end of a five-minute window to launch Cygnus to the International Space Station since Northrop Grumman needed additional time to troubleshoot a helium pressure issue.

Other issues throughout the countdown cropped up as well, including a wayward boat as well as a malfunctioning ground computer at T-minus six minutes that needed four minutes to reboot. Although down to the wire in the case of the computer, all issues were resolved and the Antares rocket lifted off the pad to soar into the clear blue skies toward space.

The payload Antares was carrying was the 16th Commercial Resupply Services mission for the Cygnus spacecraft. Aboard the ISS-bound vehicle was 8,200 pounds (3,700 kilograms) of supplies and experiments for the station’s seven-person Expedition 65 crew.

Cygnus arrived at the outpost at 6:07 a.m. EDT (10:07 UTC) Aug. 12 for a roughly three-month stay aboard the ISS.

The photos of the launch below were captured by Spaceflight Insider photographers Theresa Cross and Mark Usciak. You can read Spaceflight Insider’s story about the launch here.

The Antares rocket rests horizontally while NASA and Northrop Grumman technicians load last-minute cargo into the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft the day before liftoff. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

The Antares rocket rests horizontally while NASA and Northrop Grumman technicians load last-minute cargo into the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft the day before liftoff. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

The Antares rocket with the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft lifts off pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, to begin its journey to the International Space Station. Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

The Antares rocket with the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft lifts off pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, to begin its journey to the International Space Station. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

The Antares rocket with the NG-16 Cygnus spacecraft lifts off pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, to begin its journey to the International Space Station. Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Theresa Cross / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Credit: Mark Usciak / Spaceflight Insider

Video courtesy of NASA

For some additional information about the Antares launch profile as well as Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, you can check out these videos.

Video courtesy of Orbital Velocity

Video courtesy of Orbital Velocity

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Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity.

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