Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Research | By Jo Caldwell

Orbital ATK launches cargo to space station

Orbital ATK launches cargo to space station

ULA's next launch is the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) mission for NASA, scheduled for August 3 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, (April 18, 2017) - A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-7 resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 April 18 at 11:11a.m. EDT. The first two space fire experiments took place during previous Cygnus resupply missions.

"We are carrying more this time than we have in the past and that's a good step forward for us and for the crew", Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK's Space Systems Group, told reporters during a pre-launch news conference.

The liftoff can be watched on NASA's official YouTube channel. Because the cargo is so heavy, the mission will use an Atlas V rocket instead of the Antares booster, the usual booster employed during such missions. "This is the first time that this has ever been attempted and. we will review today's 360º setup and endeavor to bring this new perspective of a rocket launch to everyone in the future".

The cargo ship was named after John Glenn, the famed astronaut who was the first American to orbit the Earth and who died a year ago at age 95.

The iconic astronaut died in Columbus, Ohio, on December 8, 2016, at the age of 95.

"John Glenn lived a life filled with firsts and broke barriers throughout his career, just like the tremendous men and women of the 45th Space Wing continue to do here daily", said Brig.

Vern Thorp, the program manager for commercial missions at the ULA, stated that this configuration has become the "Atlas V workhorse", as it has launched approximately half of the Atlas V missions up until now.

The International Space Station passed to the east of Cape Canaveral a few minutes before launch and the Atlas 5 took off nearly directly into the plane of the lab's orbit, a requirement for spacecraft trying to rendezvous with a target moving through space at some five miles per second. "The video will continue through countdown and launch and until the rocket is out of sight".

While the minimum viewing distance is miles away from the launchpad, the 360-degree live stream offers viewers the possibility to experience the start of the space mission firsthand.

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