Atlas V technical issue delays OA-7 Cygnus flight to NET March 21
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The launch of Orbital ATK’s S.S. John Glenn OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft has been postponed by two days to March 21, 2017, due to a technical issue discovered on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V set to send the freighter toward the International Space Station (ISS).
According to ULA, a booster hydraulic issue was discovered during pre-launch testing. The additional time will allow engineers to replace a component and continue with mission preparations.
While an exact liftoff time has not be specified, opportunities for ISS missions typically shift about 20 minutes earlier for each day postponed. The mission was originally targeting the beginning of a 30-minute window that opened at 10:56 p.m. EDT March 19 (02:56 GMT March 20) from Space Launch Complex 41.
S.S. John Glenn is poised to send some 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms) of supplies and experiments to the orbiting laboratory. Once in orbit, it will take about three days for the craft to rendezvous with the ISS before being captured by the station’s robotic Canadarm2.
Cygnus will spend about 90 days attached to the Earth-facing port of the Unity module. Afterward, it will be unberthed to spend about a week at a safe distance from the outpost in order to perform a remote fire experiment called Saffire-III.
After the experiment is performed, the results will be downloaded via telemetry before the spacecraft is deorbited to safely burn up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
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 website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.