Orbital ATK Successfully Launches new Antares Rocket
Antares, from American aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK, was successfully launched from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Wallops Flight Facility based in Virginia on Monday. This is the first flight for the Antares rocket since October 2014 when its predecessor exploded just seconds after liftoff.
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The new Antares rocket was fitted with new engines since some experts blamed the engines of its predecessor for the explosion of the Antares rocket. The new engine worked flawlessly as it helped the rocket propel away from the launch pad.
According to The Verge, the new Antares rocket will carry Orbital ATK's Cygnus cargo capsule into orbit for NASA. This is part of NASA's commercial cargo program where the agency taps private firms to ship cargos into outer space.
The capsule is filled with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies including foods and tools for science experiments. The destination is the International Space Station where astronauts are being housed.
A handful of those scientific tools will be used to study how fire behaves in microgravity. Another set of tools will be used for an experiment to determine the effects of different types of lighting conditions to astronauts' health.
The Cygnus capsule is expected to complete its maneuvers towards ISS in just two and a half days. However, the Cygnus will have to wait for a few extra days before finally docking into the ISS. That is because a Soyuz space capsule is also slated to transport three new astronauts to the ISS on Friday, and NASA wants to make sure that the astronauts arrive safely before making the Cygnus docks.