WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (WAVY) — The International Space Station, a floating laboratory that orbits the Earth every 90 minutes, needs constant support of science and supplies and our own Spaceport at Wallops Flight Facility is a big part of that, including the latest mission to the ISS.
But let’s go back to 2013, the first test flight on the Antares vehicle proved that the private sector could use this rocket to send supplies to the space station. Through the past decade there have been 17 successful missions and one that ended in failure shortly after liftoff.
Back to the present day, the NG-19 Cygnus spacecraft successfully launched aboard Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket just after 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, then made its way to the ISS, with an arrival expected later this week.
This rocket will send 8,200 pounds of supplies and science experiments to the ISS. One experiment is the SAFFIRE VI experiment. This will help to further understand how fire moves and spreads in microgravity. The science done on board can impact our lives back on Earth.
“It’s about biology research, helping us to test new therapies and research options. It’s about physical science research that translates to improving products that are on a grocery store shelf.” said Heidi Parris of NASA Johnson Space Center.
The capsule carrying the supplies to the ISS is named after NASA astronaut Dr. Laurel Clark. During her first and only spaceflight on board the Space Shuttle Columbia, Clark and the rest of the crew sadly lost their lives as the vehicle broke up upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.
NG 19 will be the final flight for this current version of Antares powered by two Russian engines; the new version, with have seven engines powered by private American company Firefly Aerospace, will be launching soon.
“Last year we announced our partnership with Firefly aerospace to develop the Antares 330 which will feature a new first stage and the existing upper stack. That will get us back flying here in the summer of 2025.” said Kurt Eberly, director of space launch programs at Northrop Grumman
We will keep you up to date about the next launch of Antares from Wallops.