Rocket Recap: Cygnus NG-10 Reaches the ISS

One week ago (November 19, 2018) Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus pressurized cargo freighter arrived at and berthed with the International Space Station. The rocket had launched two days prior, on November 17, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia.  This was the ninth launch of Antares from Virginia, and the first overseen by the new Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, a division formed by NG’s acquisition of Orbital ATK earlier this year.

Antares Cygnus NG-10 launch reflection
Moments after liftoff, the Antares rocket is reflected in a pool of standing water at Launchpad 0A. Photo credit: Jared Haworth / We Report Space

The successful launch on November 17 followed a couple of weather-related delays earlier in the week.  Originally slated to launch on Thursday, November 15, a rapidly intensifying nor’easter granted a 90% probability of weather-related violation on launch day.  Mission planners opted to target a backup opportunity on November 16, but continued poor conditions and a vastly improved forecast for Saturday morning triggered a second delay.

When we talk about water on MARS, this isn't what gets people excited.
Standing water following rainstorms earlier in the week at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Photo credit: Jared Haworth / We Report Space

While the countdown was marked with a few instances of telemetry drop-out reported by launch controllers, redundant systems were able to provide confirmation that all systems were within acceptable limits, and the mission could proceed to launch.  Liftoff on November 17 occurred at 4:01am EST, the opening of the five minute launch window.

Cygnus NG-10 Fiery Tail
Cygnus’s fiery tail. A pair of RD-181 engines power the Antares first stage off the launchpad. Photo credit: Jared Haworth / We Report Space

Our earlier coverage detailed some of the science experiments being transported to the International Space Station aboard the Cygnus spacecraft.    Additionally, the three astronauts currently living and working in space will receive another round of consumables and supplies, including a seasonally appropriate Thanksgiving meal, a NASA tradition that dates back to the Skylab missions of the Apollo program.

Cygnus NG-10 launch.
Liftoff of the Antares 230 rocket carrying Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus Cargo Freighter to the International Space Station.  This 7.5 minute long exposure photograph captures the stars over Wallops Island, as well as the first and second stage portions of the NG-10 launch. Photo credit: Jared Haworth / We Report Space

The next Antares / Cygnus mission is tentatively planned for April 2019 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

Photo prints of this launch can be purchased from We Had Today Photography.


Antares / Cygnus NG-10 (Jared Haworth)

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