by Dr. Ken Kremer, Universe Today, AAAP
NASA WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – A private Antares rocket and Cygnus resupply ship thundered off a Virginia launch pad on January 9, 2014. Cygnus successfully docked at the International Space Station two and a half days later on January 12 with a huge cargo of 2800 pounds of science experiments and critical supplies for the six person crew.
The Orb-1 flight was a breakthrough mission for commercial spaceflight as well as providing an absolutely crucial life line to the station. The majestic blastoff of Orbital Science’s Antares rocket took place from a beachside pad at NASA’s Wallop’s Flight Facility along the eastern shore of Virginia at 1:07 p.m. EST.
The milestone flight was conducted under Orbital’s $1.9 billion contract with NASA as the firm’s first operational cargo delivery flight to the ISS using their self-developed Cygnus resupply vehicle.
With the ISS lifetime now extended by the Obama administration to 2024, the resupply freighters pioneered by Orbital Sciences and SpaceX in partnership with NASA are even more important than ever before to keep the station well stocked and humming with an ever increasing array of research projects.
Read more about the Antares launch and see my launch video on YouTube here:
The next Antares launch is set for May 1. Contact Ken if you are interested to attend.
Also, see Ken’s February 3 Astronomy Picture of the Day: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140203.html, a Lunar Time Lapse Panorama including the Yutu Rover.