mardi 22 mai 2018

GRACE-FO Twins Are Flying Free















SpaceX - Falcon 9 / Iridium 6 / GRACE-FO Mission patch.

May 22, 2018


Image above: The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself. GRACE-FO is sharing its ride to orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as part of a commercial rideshare agreement. Photo Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the GRACE-FO/Iridium-6 Mission from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on 22 May 2018, at 19:47 UTC (12:47 PDT).

SpaceX GRACE-FO/Iridium-6 Mission - Falcon 9 launches GRACE-FO and Iridium-6

The GRACE-FO satellites have successfully separated from the Falcon 9 rocket and are now flying independently. They will be in different orbits for the next few days that will put them into the correct configuration for science operations.

GRACE-FO satellites

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission launched onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth's atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself.

Iridium NEXT communications satellite

GRACE-FO is sharing its ride to orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as part of a commercial rideshare agreement.

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO): https://www.nasa.gov/missions/grace-fo

Iridium NEXT: https://www.iridium.com/network/iridium-next/

SpaceX: http://www.spacex.com/

Images, Video, Text, Credits: SpaceX/NASA/Tony Greicius/NASA TV/SciNews.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

OPERA presents its final results on neutrino oscillations












CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

22 May 2018

The OPERA experiment, located at the Gran Sasso Laboratory of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), was designed to conclusively prove that muon-neutrinos can convert to tau-neutrinos, through a process called neutrino oscillation, whose discovery was awarded the 2015 Nobel Physics Prize. In a paper published today in the journal Physical Review Letters, the OPERA collaboration reports the observation of a total of 10 candidate events for a muon to tau-neutrino conversion, in what are the very final results of the experiment. This demonstrates unambiguously that muon neutrinos oscillate into tau neutrinos on their way from CERN, where muon neutrinos were produced, to the Gran Sasso Laboratory 730 km away, where OPERA detected the ten tau neutrino candidates.


Image above: The OPERA experiment at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy (Image: INFN).

Today the OPERA collaboration has also made their data public through the CERN Open Data Portal. By releasing the data into the public domain, researchers outside the OPERA Collaboration have the opportunity to conduct novel research with them. The datasets provided come with rich context information to help interpret the data, also for educational use. A visualiser enables users to see the different events and download them. This is the first non-LHC data release through the CERN Open Data portal, a service launched in 2014.

There are three kinds of neutrinos in nature: electron, muon and tau neutrinos. They can be distinguished by the property that, when interacting with matter, they typically convert into the electrically charged lepton carrying their name: electron, muon and tau leptons. It is these leptons that are seen by detectors, such as the OPERA detector, unique in its capability of observing all three. Experiments carried out around the turn of the millennium showed that muon neutrinos, after travelling long distances, create fewer muons than expected, when interacting with a detector. This suggested that muon neutrinos were oscillating into other types of neutrinos. Since there was no change in the number of detected electrons, physicists suggested that muon neutrinos were primarily oscillating into tau neutrinos. This has now been unambiguously confirmed by OPERA, through the direct observation of tau neutrinos appearing hundreds of kilometres away from the muon neutrino source. The clarification of the oscillation patterns of neutrinos sheds light on some of the properties of these mysterious particles, such as their mass.

The OPERA collaboration observed the first tau-lepton event (evidence of muon-neutrino oscillation) in 2010, followed by four additional events reported between 2012 and 2015, when the discovery of tau neutrino appearance was first assessed. Thanks to a new analysis strategy applied to the full data sample collected between 2008 and 2012 – the period of neutrino production – a total of 10 candidate events have now been identified, with an extremely high level of significance.

“We have analysed everything with a completely new strategy, taking into account the peculiar features of the events,” said Giovanni De Lellis Spokesperson for the OPERA collaboration. “We also report the first direct observation of the tau neutrino lepton number, the parameter that discriminates neutrinos from their antimatter counterpart, antineutrinos. It is extremely gratifying to see today that our legacy results largely exceed the level of confidence we had envisaged in the experiment proposal.”

Beyond the contribution of the experiment to a better understanding of the way neutrinos behave, the development of new technologies is also part of the legacy of OPERA. The collaboration was the first to develop fully automated, high-speed readout technologies with sub-micrometric accuracy, which pioneered the large-scale use of the so-called nuclear emulsion films to record particle tracks. Nuclear emulsion technology finds applications in a wide range of other scientific areas from dark matter search to volcano and glacier investigation. It is also applied to optimise the hadron therapy for cancer treatment and was recently used to map out the interior of the Great Pyramid, one of the oldest and largest monuments on Earth, built during the dynasty of the pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops.

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Physical Review Letters: http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.211801

CERN Open Data Portal: http://opendata.cern.ch/docs/opera-news-first-release-2018

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit: https://home.cern/

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Achintya Rao.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

lundi 21 mai 2018

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of May 14, 2018











ISS - Expedition 55 Mission patch.

May 21, 2018

Last week, NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold exited the International Space Station to complete the fifth spacewalk of this year. The two astronauts moved the Pump Flow Control Subassembly (PFCS) from a spare parts platform on the station’s truss to the Dextre robotic arm. The PFCS drives and controls the flow of ammonia through the exterior portions of the station’s cooling system. The team then removed and replaced a camera group and a degraded Space to Ground Transmitter Receiver Controller.

International Space Station (ISS). Image Credit: NASA

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 54 days, 16 hours and 40 minutes working outside the station in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.


Image above: The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-02 (AMS-02) experienced a laptop battery change inside the station last week. Image Credit: NASA.

Here is a look at some of the science that happened last week aboard your orbiting laboratory:

Combustion rack undergoes maintenance

The Advanced Combustion Microgravity Experiment (ACME) investigation is a set of five independent studies of gaseous flames to be conducted in the Combustion Integration Rack (CIR), one of which being E-Fields Flame. ACME’s goals are to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pollutant production in practical combustion on Earth and to improve spacecraft fire prevention through innovative research focused on materials flammability.


Image above: NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold works within the Combustion Integration Rack as part of the ACME E-Fields Flame investigation. Image Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew completed five-year maintenance to the CIR in order to continue with the investigation’s operations. This included the replacement of manifold bottles and endcaps seals.

J-SSOD prepares for new investigation

The JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) provides a novel, safe, small satellite launching capability to the space station. The J-SSOD is a unique satellite launcher, handled by the Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS), which provides containment and deployment mechanisms for several individual small satellites.


Animation above: The J-SSOD is a unique satellite launcher, handled by the Japanese Experiment Module Remote Manipulator System (JEMRMS), which provides containment and deployment mechanisms for several individual small satellites. Animation Credit: NASA.

Last week, the crew reconfigured the J-SSOD for JAXA’s Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism (ExHAM) #2. The ExHAM is a cuboid mechanism equipped with a fixture on the upper surface for grappling by the JEM Remote Manipulator System Small Fine Arm, and components on the under surface for attaching the ExHAM to the handrail on the JEM EF.

Investigation begins to collect data

As we travel farther into space, clever solutions to problems like engine part malfunctions and other possible mishaps will be a vital part of the planning process. The Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature-7 investigation (ACE-T-7) explores the feasibility of creating self-assembling microscopic particles for use in the manufacturing of materials during spaceflight. These microscopic particles come together like building blocks to create materials with tailored nanostructures, giving scientists the ability to change the behavioral properties of a material according to a set of instructions embedded within the particle.

Last week, the investigation continues to collect data on the first of two modules. Learn more about ACE-T-7 here: https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2018/05/investigation-seeks-to-create-self.html

Space to Ground: Kilauea Volcano: 05/18/2018

Other work was done on these investigations: Crew Earth Observations, Veggie PONDS, Two-Phase Flow, Radi-N2, ASIM, Circadian Rhythms, DOSIS-3D, MARES, Space Headaches, VESSEL ID,  Biochemical Profile, BEAM, J-SSOD, Food Acceptability, Team Task Switching, Multi-Omics, and Vascular Echo.

Related article:

Veteran Astronauts Conclude Spacewalk for Thermal Maintenance
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2018/05/veteran-astronauts-conclude-spacewalk.html

Related links:

Advanced Combustion Microgravity Experiment (ACME): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1651

Combustion Integration Rack (CIR): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=317

E-Fields Flame: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=2058

JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=883

Advanced Colloids Experiment-Temperature-7 investigation (ACE-T-7): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1708

Crew Earth Observations: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=84

Veggie PONDS: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7581

Two-Phase Flow: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1034

Radi-N2: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=874

ASIM: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1822

Circadian Rhythms: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=869

DOSIS-3D: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=177

MARES: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=343

Space Headaches: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=174

VESSEL ID: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=737

Biochemical Profile: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=980

BEAM: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1579

J-SSOD: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=883

Food Acceptability: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7562

Team Task Switching: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7538

Multi-Omics: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1689

Vascular Echo: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1664

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Yuri Guinart-Ramirez, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 55 & 56.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Cygnus In Space, Next Stop Station












NASA / Orbital ATK - Cygnus OA-9 Mission patch.

May 21, 2018

The Cygnus spacecraft’s solar arrays have deployed.

The cargo ship will rendezvous with the International Space Station on Thursday, May 24. Expedition 55 Flight Engineer Scott Tingle will grapple the spacecraft at approximately 5:20 a.m. EDT, backed by Ricky Arnold, and Drew Feustel will monitor Cygnus systems during its approach. They will use the space station’s robotic Canadarm2 to take hold of the Cygnus, dubbed the S.S. James “J.R.” Thompson. After Cygnus’ capture, ground controllers will command the robotic arm to rotate and install Cygnus onto the station’s Unity module. It is scheduled depart the space station in mid-July.


Image above: The Cygnus spacecraft with its cymbal-like UltraFlex solar arrays deployed was pictured departing the space station Dec. 5, 2017 during Expedition 53. Image Credit: NASA.

Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 3:45 a.m. Thursday, May 24. Installation coverage is set to begin at 7:30 a.m.

Science investigations aboard Cygnus on their way to the space station also include commercial and academic payloads in myriad disciplines, including:

- The Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST), an investigation to identify unknown microbial organisms on the space station and understand how humans, plants and microbes adapt to living on the station https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7687

- The Cold Atom Laboratory, a physics research facility used by scientists to explore how atoms interact when they have almost no motion due to extreme cold temperatures https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7396

- A unique liquid separation system from Zaiput Flow Technologies that relies on surface forces, rather than gravity, to extract one liquid from another https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7696

- The Ice Cubes Facility, the first commercial European opportunity to conduct research in space, made possible through an agreement with ESA (European Space Agency) and Space Applications Services http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/Ice_Cubes_cool_new_commercial_opportunity_on_the_International_Space_Station

- The Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS) experiment is to investigate and understand the complex process of cement solidification in microgravity with the intent of improving Earth-based cement and concrete processing and as the first steps toward making and using concrete on extraterrestrial bodies https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7658

- Three Earth science CubeSats

- RainCube (Radar in a CubeSat) will be NASA’s first active sensing instrument on a CubeSat that could enable future rainfall profiling missions on low-cost, quick-turnaround platforms https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cubesat/missions/raincube.php

- TEMPEST-D (Temporal Experiment for Storms and Tropical Systems Demonstration) is mission to validate technology that could improve our understanding of cloud processes https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/cubesat/missions/tempest-d.php

- CubeRRT (CubeSat Radiometer Radio Frequency Interference Technology) will seek to demonstrate a new technology that can identify and filter radio frequency interference, which is a growing problem that negatively affects the data quality collected by radiometers, instruments used in space for critical weather data and climate studies https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/cubesat-to-test-instrument-for-crystal-clear-data-collection

Related article:

NASA Sends New Research on Orbital ATK Mission to Space Station
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2018/05/nasa-sends-new-research-on-orbital-atk.html

Related links:

Expedition 55: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition53/index.html

NASA Television: https://www.nasa.gov/live/

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

NASA Sends New Research on Orbital ATK Mission to Space Station












NASA / Orbital ATK - Cygnus OA-9 Mission patch.

May 21, 2018


Image above: The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Monday, May 21, 2018 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Orbital ATK’s ninth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver approximately 7,400 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Image Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

Astronauts soon will have new experiments to conduct related to emergency navigation, DNA sequencing and ultra-cold atom research when the research arrives at the International Space Station following the 4:44 a.m. EDT Monday launch of an Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft.

Cygnus lifted off on an Antares 230 rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Orbital ATK’s ninth cargo mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The spacecraft is carrying about 7,400 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations underway on the space station.

U.S. Commercial Cargo Craft Heads to the Space Station

NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Ricky Arnold will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus when it arrives at the station Thursday, May 24. Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website beginning at 3:45 a.m. Installation coverage is set to begin at 7:30 a.m.

Included in the cargo in the pressurized area of Cygnus is a centuries-old method of celestial navigation. The Sextant Navigation investigation will explore the use of a hand-held sextant for emergency navigation on missions in deep space as humans look to travel farther from Earth. The ability to sight angles between the Moon or planets and stars offers crews another option to find their way home if communications and main computers are compromised.

Monitoring crew health and the biological environment of the space station, and understanding long-term effects of space travel on both, are critical to NASA’s plans for long-duration, deep space exploration. The Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST) study is the agency’s next step toward advancing in-space DNA sequencing technologies that can identify microbial organisms living on the space station and understanding how the DNA of humans, plants and microbes are affected by microgravity. BEST will use a process that sequences DNA directly from a sample, with minimal preparation, rather than using the traditional technique of growing a culture from the sample.

Orbital ATK Commercial Resupply. Image Credit: Orbital ATK

In the realm of modern physics, the new Cold Atom Lab (CAL) on Cygnus could help answer some big questions. CAL creates a temperature 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space, then uses lasers and magnetic forces to slow down atoms until they are almost motionless. In the microgravity environment of the space station, CAL can observe these ultra-cold atoms for much longer than possible on Earth. Results of this research could lead to a number of improved technologies, including sensors, quantum computers and atomic clocks used in spacecraft navigation.

Cygnus is scheduled to depart the station in July with several tons of trash and burn up during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, over the Pacific Ocean. The vehicle is named after James “J.R.” Thompson, a leader in the aerospace industry.

For more than 17 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,400 research investigations from researchers in 103 countries.

Related links:

Orbital ATK: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/orbital.html

Commercial Resupply: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/index.html

Sextant Navigation: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7646

Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7687

Cold Atom Lab (CAL): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7396

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA TV), Text, Credits: NASA/Kathryn Hambleton/Sean Potter/JSC/Gary Jordan/Orbital ATK.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

China will explore the dark side of the moon












CASC - China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation logo.

May 21, 2018

Long March-4C carrying Chang'e 4 satellite launch. Image Credit: Xinhua

A Long March-4C launch vehicle launched Queqiao (鹊桥, "Magpie Bridge"), the satellite relay for the Chang'e-4 lunar mission, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan Province, southwest China, on May 20, 2018, at 21:28 UTC (21 May, at 05:28 local time).

China on Monday launched a relay satellite to provide communications between the Earth and a small robot that should be deployed on the far side of the Moon in 2018, according to the Chinese Space Agency.

A Long March-4C rocket took off at 5:28 am local time (2128 GMT Sunday) from the Xichang launch pad (south-west) with the Queqiao satellite, which is currently continuing into space, on board. Chinese National Space Administration.

Long March-4C launches Queqiao (Chang'e-4 satellite relay)

Upon the arrival of the remote-controlled robot on the Moon, the satellite will be at a place where it can exchange with the Earth, while having in its line of sight the hidden face of the Moon.

"This launch is a crucial step for China to become the first country to send a probe able to smoothly glide and explore the dark side of the moon," said Zhang Lihua, head of the satellite project, quoted by the China New Agency.

Chang'e 4 satellite

The satellite will allow control by technicians left on Earth of the Chang'e-4 robot, which takes its name from a goddess of Chinese mythology.

Second remote controlled vehicle

The hidden face of the Moon refers to the hemisphere of the lunar body that is not visible from Earth. She has been photographed since 1959 but has never been explored.

The dark side of the moon

The robot will be sent by the end of 2018 in the South Pole-Aitken basin, an area supposed to have great potential for research, according to new China.

It will be the second Chinese unmanned vehicle on the moon. In 2013, China had already landed a rover named "Jade Bunny". He had had periods of coma, but had finally been able to survey the lunar surface for 31 months, well beyond its expected life.


Image above: An artist's rendering of the Chang'e 4 satellite relaying data from a lander / rover combo on the moon's far side. Image Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAST).

Another robot (Chang'e-5) is expected to be sent to the Moon in 2019 to collect samples and bring them back to Earth.

China invests billions of euros in its space program, coordinated by the army. The country hopes to have an inhabited space station by 2022, and eventually send humans to the moon.

For more information about China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), visit: http://english.spacechina.com/n16421/index.html

Images, Video, Text, Credits: CASC/SciNews/CAST/Xinhua/Günter Space Page/AFP/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

samedi 19 mai 2018

Orbital ATK Antares Rocket Set for Early Monday Morning Launch to Space Station Space Station Research












NASA / Orbital ATK - Cygnus OA-9 Mission patch.

May 19, 2018


Image above: Antares rocket arrival at Pad 0A of Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops. Image Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

The Range Control Center at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility has forecast 70-percent favorable weather for the May 21 launch of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Antares rocket being raised at launchpad. Image Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

The main weather concern for Monday’s launch attempt is sky screen (essentially local visibility conditions). Latest launch forecast puts weather at 70 percent favorable.


Animation above: Time-lapse of Antares rocket being raised at launchpad. Animation Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black.

A weak cold front looks to drop into the region late Sunday afternoon, May 20, providing a chance for scattered showers and thunderstorms through that evening. Shower chances diminish by early Monday, but a weak upper-level impulse drops over the Eastern Shore during the overnight hours Sunday into Monday, providing increased cloud cover and a slight chance for an isolated shower leading up to the projected launch.


Image above: The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft on board, raised at launchpad. Image Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black.

The Antares rocket, with Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft aboard is scheduled to launch no earlier than May 21 at 4:39 a.m. EDT on the company’s CRS-9 resupply mission to the International Space Station.


Image above: The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft on board, is raised at launch Pad-0A, Friday, May 18, 2018, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani.

The mission, CRS-9, is Orbital ATK’s ninth contracted cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station for NASA. Among the 7,400 pounds of cargo aboard Cygnus are science experiments, crew supplies and vehicle hardware.

Related links:

NASA TV coverage: https://www.nasa.gov/ntv

Learn more about Orbital ATK’s mission at: http://www.nasa.gov/orbitalatk

Commercial Resupply: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Rob Garner.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch