Orbital Science makes triumphant return to space

19 Oct

Yesterday, Oct 17, was the first time in almost two years that the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Wallop Island was the sight of an Orbital Science’s Antares rocket. On top of the rocket was a unmanned Cygnus craft filled with more than 2 and a half ton of supplies destined for the ISS (International Space Station). The mission would first for Orbital Science since the October 2014 explosion of an Antares rocket shortly after lift-off.

At 7:45 pm ET (4:45 pm PT) the ground crew on Wallop Island and those watching the live feed were thrilled at the sight of the engines roaring to life. There was cheering as the rocket lifted-off and started its accent. Within seconds much of the northern half of the east coast was able to witness the sight of the rocket as it soared into the stratosphere.

A few minutes after launch the Antares rocket broke into a low Earth orbit where it would separate with the Cygnus craft that would continue on its mission to the ISS. It will take 5 and a days for the Cygnus craft to rendezvous with the ISS where it will then be captured by the stations robotic grappling arm and brought in to dock. Then over the next few weeks the crew of the ISS will unload the 5,000+ pounds of supplies. Once the craft has been unloaded it will then be filled back up with 3,000 pounds of trash before it is released to fall back to Earth.

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