A rocket launches from NASA’s Wallops Island, Virginia, facility in 2013. It is seen here in a long exposure from Cape May, New Jersey.Chris Bakley | NJ Advance Media file photo
The launch of a rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore rescheduled multiple times earlier this week has been rescheduled for a 5-minute launch window that opens at 9:16 p.m. Friday.
If skies are clear, 2 or 3 minutes after launch sky-watchers in central Pennsylvania could see the fiery stream from the Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus cargo spacecraft loaded with nearly 8,000 pounds of research, commercial products, crew supplies and hardware for the International Space Station.
According to NASA, the cargo will include a space toilet, radishes, 10 bottles of Estee Lauder face cream and experiments with fire.
The spacecraft, dubbed the SS Kalpana Chawla, is expected to arrive at the space station on Monday, October 5. It is scheduled to remain at the space station until mid-December, when it will depart the station, providing a vehicle for the Saffire-V experiment and disposing of several tons of trash during a fiery re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
The launch will begin Northrop Grumman’s 14th commercial resupply services mission to deliver NASA science investigations, supplies and equipment to the space station.
Live coverage of the launch from Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website, beginning at 8:45 p.m.
The space station has been continuously occupied since November 2000, hosting 240 individuals from 19 countries.
An international crew of six people live and work while traveling at a speed of 5 miles per second, orbiting Earth about every 90 minutes.
To mitigate the loss of muscle and bone mass in the human body in microgravity, the astronauts work out at least 2 hours a day.
In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 orbits of Earth, traveling through 16 sunrises and sunsets.
The space station is 357 feet end-to-end, one yard shy of the full length of an American football field including the end zones.
The acre of solar panels that power the station means sometimes you can look up in the sky at dawn or dusk and see the spaceship flying over your home.
The solar array wingspan of 240 feet is about the same length as the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.
The living and working space in the station is larger than a 6-bedroom house, and has 6 sleeping quarters, 2 bathrooms, a gym, and a 360-degree view bay window.
The large modules and other pieces of the station were delivered on 42 assembly flights, 37 on the U.S. space shuttles and five on Russian Proton/Soyuz rockets.
The 55-foot robotic Canadarm2 has seven different joints and two hands, and is used to move entire modules, deploy science experiments and transport spacewalking astronauts.
A spacecraft can arrive at the space station as soon as four hours after launching from Earth.
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NASA, Cygnus, Kalpana Chawla, Northrop Grumman, International Space Station, Antares, Space launch
World news – US – Rocket launch, possibly visible in Pennsylvania, rescheduled for Friday night