Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, a commercial resupply mission for the International Space Station, launched successfully yesterday from Cape Canaveral aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.
It was the fourth attempt to launch the rocket. The first on 3 December was abandoned due to bad weather, high gusting winds stopped the second and third attempts.
But yesterday’s launch was flawless and the spacecraft now is on track to catch up to the International Space Station on Wednesday. Ground controllers received confirmation that the first of Cygnus’ two solar arrays deployed as planned.
The solar arrays provide the power for Cygnus to fly autonomously to rendezvous with the station.
Cygnus is loaded with 3,350 kilograms of equipment and supplies.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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