OA-9 Cygnus resupply mission postponed by 24 hours to May 21
Orbital ATK’s next resupply mission to the International Space Station has been postponed 24 hours, according to the company. The OA-9 Cygnus cargo spacecraft’s flight into space atop an Antares rocket had originally been scheduled for May 20, 2018.
The decision to delay came the morning of May 18 following the vehicle’s roll out to Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia the night before. With poor weather conditions through Sunday, the mission managers decided to allow launch teams more time to perform pre-flight activities. Moreover, the May 21 attempt is expected to have a much better weather forecast than was predicted for May 20 with only a 20 percent chance of flight rules being violated.
NASA and Orbital ATK are now targeting a five-minute window opening no earlier than 4:39 a.m. EDT (08:39 GMT) Monday morning to send the Cygnus spacecraft, named S.S. J.R. Thompson, with its 7,400 pounds (3,400 kilograms) of supplies to the outpost. Once in orbit, the freighter will spend several days catching up with the station before rendezvousing in the early-morning hours of May 24.
Once within about 33 feet (10 meters) of the ISS, the station’s crew will use the robotic Canadarm2 to grab the cargo freighter. Robotics engineers on the ground will then, according to NASA, remotely move the vehicle to the Earth-facing port of the Unity module for installation.
Video courtesy of Orbital ATK
Lloyd Campbell’s first interest in space began when he was a very young boy in the 1960s with NASA’s Gemini and Apollo programs. That passion continued in the early 1970s with our continued exploration of our Moon, and was renewed by the Shuttle Program. Having attended the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on its final two missions, STS-131, and STS-133, he began to do more social networking on space and that developed into writing more in-depth articles. Since then he’s attended the launch of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, the agency’s new crew-rated Orion spacecraft on Exploration Flight Test 1, and multiple other uncrewed launches. In addition to writing, Lloyd has also been doing more photography of launches and aviation. He enjoys all aspects of space exploration, both human, and robotic, but his primary passions lie with human exploration and the vehicles, rockets, and other technologies that allow humanity to explore space.