US space agency NASA is to launch a rocket to the International Space Station today after a day’s delay, to deliver food and supplies to the astronauts aboard the orbiting space lab.
The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with its Cygnus cargo spacecraft on board, is scheduled to blast off at 10.50am EDT (3.50pm Irish time) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Cygnus is due to reach the space station on Sunday.
NASA TV will cover the launch, beginning at 10.15am EDT (3.15pm IST).
NASA said there’s a 75pc chance of favourable weather conditions for launch, but the agency is keeping its eye on low clouds (below 1,828 metres or 6,000 feet), which could hamper the launch.
Bad weather on Friday contributed the postponement of the launch from yesterday to today. Friday’s weather delayed the roll out of Antares to the launch pad, and a technical issue identified during a combined systems test on Friday night involving communications between ground equipment and the rocket’s flight computer also meant a rescheduling was in order.
NASA said the technical issue has been fixed and its team is working to understand why it happened in the first place.