Third time’s the charm: Cygnus cargo ship finally gets launched to the space station

Northrop Grumman’s robotic Cygnus cargo spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station after two launch postponements.

  • The Cygnus lifted from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 3:21 p.m. ET (12:21 p.m. PT) today atop Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket. The launch was delayed twice: The first attempt was scrubbed six days ago due to an issue with ground support equipment, and a second attempt scheduled for Friday was called off due to excessively high upper-level winds.
  • Almost four tons’ worth of payloads are packed inside the cylindrical spacecraft — including fresh fruit, cheddar and manchego cheese, and candy (Skittles, Hot Tamales, and Mike and Ike gummies) for the space station’s crew. Among the science experiments on board is the first electron microscope to fly in space, built by a Seattle startup called Voxa.
  • Arrival at the space station is set for Tuesday. The crew will grab onto the spaceship with the station’s robotic arm and attach in to its berth, where it will stay until May. This Cygnus craft has been named the S.S. Robert H. Lawrence Jr., in honor of the first African-American ever selected as an astronaut. Lawrence was killed in a 1967 jet crash that occurred during his training for a space mission.

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