Atlas 5 Launch: What is the Cargo?

Atlas 5 Launch: What is the Cargo?

Cygnus is carrying 7,626 pounds of resupply materials and science experiments.

The mission was flown for Orbital ATK under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract and the payload will deliver supplies, equipment and experiments to astronauts aboard the ISS. But the live feed appeared to skip the actual launch.

"Congratulations to our mission partners at Orbital ATK and NASA on another successful launch that will help advance our scientific knowledge on Earth and in space, and inspire the next generation of space explorers", Wentz said.

While the minimum safe viewing distance is typically miles away from the launch pad, this livestream promises viewers a much closer look at a powerful rocket launch, or what NASA is calling a "pads-eye view".

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Meanwhile, the country has conducted a series of ballistic missile launches in recent months in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

"We're really, really going to miss hearing your golden voice", Cabana said. Its cargo includes a greenhouse that the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration is testing to grow food for astronauts on long missions. "Antares of course is an Orbital ATK vehicle, so we like flying on that".

The Cygnus cargo ship is the seventh of 10 planned missions through 2018 under Orbital's space station resupply contract with NASA, worth up to $3.1 billion.

A banner with John Glenn's portrait hangs inside the Cygnus. Also on board: 160 pounds of spacewalk equipment, about 40 pounds of Russian hardware and 38 small research satellites. These tiny vehicles will either be deployed into space from the station or from the Cygnus capsule itself in the upcoming months, according to NASA.

The barrel-shaped Cygnus spacecraft, nestled atop a white Atlas V rocket, soared into the blue sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:11 am (1511 GMT).

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Among the cargo is an advanced plant habitat, "the largest production facility for plants ever on the space station", Ruttley said.

Assuming the Soyuz docks on schedule, the Cygnus spacecraft will make its own approach to the space station early Saturday, pulling up to within about 30 feet just after 6 a.m. and then standing by while Whitson and Pesquet, operating the station's robot arm, lock onto a grapple fixture. So the Cygnus will stay out of the way until the incoming crew is safely onboard the ISS.

Known as Saffire-III, the experiment is the third in a series aimed at igniting a large-scale fire in microgravity.

For the first time, NASA, in partnership with ULA and Orbital, broadcast a live, 360-degree view of the launch on YouTube.

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