Corporate supply ship heads to space station with belated Christmas gifts
A privately launched supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Thursday leaving behind a series of delays, ranging from the cold to the sun.
Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its unmanned Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Va., providing a view to nearby states along the East Coast.
The company successfully hoisted a capsule packed with 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments provided by NASA, as well as food, and some ants for an educational project. Christmas presents for the six space-station residents are on board; the delivery is a month late.
Named Cygnus, the rocket is expected to reach the space station on Sunday. The orbiting outpost was zooming over the Atlantic, near Brazil, when the Antares blasted off.
“It's going to be an exciting weekend,” astronaut Koichi Wakata of Japan said in a tweet from the space station.
The delivery was delayed three times, most recently because of a strong solar storm. Engineers initially feared solar radiation might cause the rocket to veer off course. But reviews on Wednesday deemed it an acceptable risk. Previous delays were because of frigid temperatures and repairs on the space station. The weather on Thursday was a relatively balmy 45 degrees.
NASA is paying Orbital Sciences and the SpaceX company to restock the space station. The Orbital Sciences contract alone is worth $1.9 billion.
The launch is Orbital Sciences' second trip to the orbiting lab, but its first under the contract. The company conducted a successful test run in September. Two more trips are scheduled this year. Orbital Sciences launches from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia, its corporate base. California-based SpaceX flies from Cape Canaveral. It is scheduled to make its fourth supply run next month.
“Great way to start out the new year ... we're all smiles here,” said Bill Wrobel, director of NASA's Wallops facility.
The American, Russian and Japanese space station residents eagerly await the goodies inside Cygnus.
In addition to Christmas gifts from their families, NASA tucked in some fresh fruit.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Congress approves 1-week funding measure for Homeland Security
- Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects Jewish House Democrats’ invitation
- Mo. gunman kills 7, self, in rampage
- More Indian tribes rethink idea of legalized marijuana on reservations
- Suspects’ search of victims’ homes OK’d in Colorado
- Rep. Schock of Illinois shoulders $40K cost of office renovation
- Gene making human brains bigger found
- Author Ray Bradbury home’s demise has Los Angeles re-examining its history
- Utah Republican Rep. Chaffetz wants FCC to release net neutrality regulations
- 2 arrested in U.S. tried to join ISIS, feds say
- Foreign government gifts to family charity present candidacy hurdle for Hillary Clinton