John Glenn honored with launch of space station supply ship

John Glenn honored with launch of space station supply ship

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, (April 18, 2017) - A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying the OA-7 resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-41 April 18 at 11:11a.m. EDT.

Orbital ATK is a private sector company that operates the cargo ship and has a contract with NASA to transport supplies and cargo to the worldwide space station.

The cargo ship is loaded with some 7,625 pounds of cargo and equipment, including more than 2,000 pounds of science gear, 2,100 pounds of crew supplies and almost 2,700 pounds of vehicle hardware. Given that Glenn flew on an Atlas rocket and Tuesday's rocket is an Atlas, "I feel like we're bridging history".

Glenn became the first American to orbit the world in 1962 - launching on an Atlas rocket - and the oldest person to fly in space in 1998 aboard the shuttle Discovery.

"John Glenn lived a life filled with firsts and broke barriers throughout his career, just like the tremendous men and women of the 45th Space Wing continue to do here daily", said Brig.

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Glenn passed away in December 2016 at age 95.

It's set to arrive at the ISS on Saturday.

Expedition 51 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Peggy Whitson of NASA will use the space station's Canadian-built robotic arm to grapple Cygnus, about 6:05 a.m. Saturday.

It will remain at ISS for about 3 months. "It looks like we nailed the orbit once again".

The Atlas V OA-7 launch was the sixth major launch operation for the Eastern Range this year.

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Launch Notes: This mission marks the third time ULA's Atlas V has launched Orbital ATK's Cygnus™ spacecraft on its way to the ISS.

The hydrogen-fueled Aerojet Rocketdyne engine powering the Centaur second stage then flashed to life and burned for almost 14 minutes to complete the climb to a 142-mile-high roughly circular orbit tilted 51.6 degrees to the equator, the same as the space station's. "Orbital ATK is well-positioned to introduce an intermediate and large class family of launch vehicles by leveraging the strengths of the merged company to achieve low-priced assured space access for current and future national security payloads and other satellites".

Orbital has launched seven missions under a commercial resupply services contract with NASA that calls for 10 missions total.

Over the past 18 months, Orbital ATK has successfully completed critical design reviews for major elements of the company's solid propulsion stages, along with preliminary vehicle level and launch site infrastructure reviews.

"We believe that the cameras captured it", said Alison Knox at the Kennedy Space Center.

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