Subscribe

Foul weather threatens second launch of cargo-laden spacecraft

After bad weather prevented the Cygnus spacecraft from launching its payload of supplies to the ISS Thursday, a second attempt faces possible similar troubles.

  • close
    A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket stands ready for a second launch attempt at launch complex 41at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The launch scheduled for early evening was scrubbed Thursday because of poor weather conditions.
    John Raoux/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

For the second day in a row, foul weather threatened to stall a critical space station delivery for NASA on Friday.

An unmanned Atlas rocket was poised to lift off at sunset with 7,400 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station. Thursday's launch attempt was rained out. Early Friday afternoon, the forecast improved slightly, with thick clouds still the main concern for the planned 5:33 p.m. liftoff.

The six space station astronauts have gone without U.S. shipments since April. Two private companies hired by NASA to replenish the orbiting lab are stuck on Earth with grounded rockets. Orbital ATK bought another company's rocket, the veteran Atlas V, for this supply mission.

Orbital's last grocery run ended in a fiery explosion seconds after liftoff in October 2014. SpaceX, the other supplier, suffered a launch failure in June.

Russia also lost a supply ship earlier this year. But it's since picked up the slack, along with Japan. A Russian resupply mission, in fact, is scheduled just before Christmas.

Much-needed food is inside Orbital's cargo carrier, named Cygnus after the swan constellation. NASA normally likes to have a six-month stash of food aboard the space station, but it's down a couple months because of the three failed flights. Space station program manager Kirk Shireman expects it will take another year to get the pantry full again — provided there are no more accidents.

Also aboard the newest Cygnus capsule: clothes, toiletries, spacewalking gear, air-supply tanks and science experiments.

Orbital plans to launch another of United Launch Alliance's Atlas rockets in March, then return its own Antares rocket to flight from Virginia in May. SpaceX, meanwhile, aims to restart station deliveries in January with its Falcon rockets.

___

Orbital ATK: https://www.orbitalatk.com/

NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK