Orbital Finally Launches Cargo Ship For ISS
Orbital ATX was finally able to launch its Cygnus cargo ship on Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral. The spacecraft contains 7,400 pounds of space station cargo that will be supplied to the ISS. The anticipated arrival of the cargo ship on the orbiting station is later during the week. The space craft, which was launched through the unmanned Atlas V (five) rocket, is travelling at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour.
The launch was delayed by three days due to bad weather conditions. Following the delay, Orbital immediately bought an Atlas 5 launch from ULA in order to meet its cargo delivery target as per its contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). If this launch would have failed then the astronauts of the ISS would have been forced to start having their food reserves from February, lasting only till April 12.
Cygnus is also supplying Microsoft HoloLens headsets, which will allow the experts on Earth to assist the crew members in completing complex activities. The cargo ship is also carrying a safety jetpack for spacewalks and high-pressure tanks of oxygen. Furthermore, nitrogen has also been boarded on Cygnus to restock the air supply of the space station.
The crew members of the space station were able to view a few rocket contrails and also captured an amazing sight of the launch. According to NASA’s recommendations, the space station was supposed to have food reserve for six months, which had reduced to that of a few months as a result of launch failures since last 14 months.
The $1.6 billion-contract between NASA and Orbital ATK involves supplying about 62,000 pounds (28,000 kilograms) of cargo to the ISS until 2018 by launching 10 missions. Cygnus is also carrying a few Christmas gifts for the crew members of the space station, according to NASA.
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