Aircraft overhead forces Orbital to cancel cargo launch

November 11, 2017

The unexpected sighting of an aircraft in the area near Wallops Island, Virginia forced Orbital ATK to cancel its planned launch Saturday of an unmanned cargo ship to the International Space Station.

Just moments before the Antares rocket was to blast off, carrying the Cygnus cargo ship at 7:37 am (1237 GMT), mission control called, "Abort, abort, abort!"

The next opportunity for launch is Sunday morning at 7:14.

The mission will be the eighth for Orbital ATK, which has a $1.9 billion-dollar contract with NASA to resupply the space station over several years.

The barrel-shaped Cygnus is packed with 7,400 pounds (3,356 kilograms) of food, supplies, equipment and science experiments.

Among them is a satellite that will test how bacteria grows in microgravity, and determine the minimum amount of antibiotic needed to stop its growth.

"Bacterial antibiotic resistance may pose a danger to astronauts in microgravity, where the immune response is weakened," NASA said.

"Scientists believe that the results of this experiment could help design effective countermeasures to protect astronauts' health during long-duration human space missions."

The US space agency hopes to send people to deep space in the coming decades, with a human mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s.

The current crew of six astronauts on duty at the include three Americans, one Italian and two Russians.

Explore further: Orbital cargo ship poised for frigid launch

Related Stories

Orbital cargo ship poised for frigid launch

November 10, 2017

An unmanned Cygnus cargo ship operated by Orbital ATK is poised to blast off toward the International Space Station on a frigid Saturday, carrying supplies to the six astronauts living in orbit.

Bad weather postpones Orbital cargo launch

December 4, 2015

Rainy weather and thick clouds over Florida on Thursday forced Orbital ATK to postpone the planned launch of its Cygnus cargo craft toward the International Space Station, NASA said.

Recommended for you

Superflares from young red dwarf stars imperil planets

October 18, 2018

The word "HAZMAT" describes substances that pose a risk to the environment, or even to life itself. Imagine the term being applied to entire planets, where violent flares from the host star may make worlds uninhabitable by ...

Astronomers catch red dwarf star in a superflare outburst

October 18, 2018

New observations by two Arizona State University astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have caught a red dwarf star in a violent outburst, or superflare. The blast of radiation was more powerful than any such outburst ...

Blazar's brightness cycle confirmed by NASA's Fermi mission

October 18, 2018

A two-year cycle in the gamma-ray brightness of a blazar, a galaxy powered by a supermassive black hole, has been confirmed by 10 years of observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The findings were announced ...

Magnetic fields may be the key to black hole activity

October 17, 2018

Collimated jets provide astronomers with some of the most powerful evidence that a supermassive black hole lurks in the heart of most galaxies. Some of these black holes appear to be active, gobbling up material from their ...

Astronomers find a cosmic Titan in the early universe

October 17, 2018

An international team of astronomers has discovered a titanic structure in the early Universe, just two billion years after the Big Bang. This galaxy proto-supercluster, nicknamed Hyperion, is the largest and most massive ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.