NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the international Space Station at 4:46 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 17. The launch, as well as briefings preceding and following liftoff, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Loaded with 7,500 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, this Northrop Grumman’s 11th commercial resupply NASA-contracted mission. It will launch from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
About two-and-a-half hours after launch, an automated command will initiate deployment of the spacecraft’s solar arrays. Full deployment will take approximately 30 minutes.
The Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the SS Roger Chaffee, will arrive at the space station Friday, April 19. At about 5:30 a.m., Expedition 59 NASA astronaut Anne McClain will grapple the spacecraft using the station’s robotic arm. She will be backed up by David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. NASA astronaut Nick Hague will monitor Cygnus systems during its approach. After capture, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install Cygnus on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.