WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – At 4:46 pm EDT (2046 GMT) today (April 17), Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket fires, launching a robotic Cygnus cargo vessel full of 7,600 lbs . (3,447 kilograms) of hardware, crew and science experiments to the International Space Station (ISS).
The mission, known as NG-11, will be the 11th and final flight of NASA's first Commercial Resupply Services program (CRS-1). The rocket launches from Pad-0A to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA's Wallbook Flight Facility in Virginia. At present, weather forecasts are reliable, and conditions are desirable for a successful launch.
Wallops expects record-high crowds for launch today, Doug Voss, Deputy Chief of Range and Mission at the facility's Office of Administration, told a news conference yesterday (April 1
There are several reasons for increased attendance, Voss said. One is the available timeframe of the latter, a departure from most Wallops launches, which may occur early in the morning. In addition, some regional students are on spring vacations, which means that they and their families are more free to travel. And other students made a trip because they were involved in ISS-led scientific research conducted by Cygnus.
But do not worry: you do not have to rage the crowds to watch the NG-11 escape today. You can watch the launch live here at Space.com in courtesy of NASA TV, or directly on NASA Live . The webcast launch starts at 4:15 p.m. EDT (2015 GMT). Additionally, Space.com will be the live launch of Facebook on webcasting. Exactly 21 years after NASA launched the space shuttle Columbia on the mission of the STS-90, this mission will launch mice – the first rodents to fly to a Cygnus spacecraft – a host of small and useful robots, and more. In fact, NG-11 & # 39; s cargo is over 50% scientific gear by weight. The haul includes new investigations and equipment to support ongoing space inspections at space stations.
"The release of Cygnus tomorrow is really important to us here in the science community," Voss says. Because the freight of the science can be loaded into spacecraft up to 24 hours before launch – compared to the usual four days – scientists can launch more sensitive biological and physical science experiments, he added.
The launch was also a covenant for continued collaboration between international space agencies, NASA officials said
"We are conducting research on all five partner agencies so not only NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, the Space Agency of Canada, the European Space Agency and the space agency of Russia, "said Joel Montalbano, deputy manager of the International Space Station Program, in a news conference.
"We work together, we combine what we are learning in orbit, and we bring it back to Earth," he added.