Space station supply ship at launch pad honors John Glenn
At 11:11 a.m. - right on time - a ULA Atlas V rocket lifted off from Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral.
John Glenn's trailblazing legacy took flight Tuesday as a cargo ship bearing his name rocketed toward the International Space Station.
In a first for a NASA rocket launch, a 360-degree video camera will live stream the launch of an Atlas V rocket - carrying the Orbital-ATK's Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the the S.S. John Glenn - towing supplies and research from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station. But despite that mission's success, in November, NASA asked Orbital to return to the Atlas V for this launch since the rocket can get more weight into orbit.
A cargo resupply mission launched Tuesday from the Space Coast was the last liftoff narrated by the "golden voice" of NASA after more than 30 years of commentary. The SS John Glenn is expected to rendezvous with the Space Station on Saturday after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft launching on Thursday has time to reach the station, according to Space.com. "We are also pleased that Cygnus will once again display its versatility as an in-orbit science platform for conducting experiments and payload operations for key customers".
The flight is the seventh operational space station resupply mission carried out by Orbital ATK under commercial contracts with NASA and the company's third using a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. ULA has already released two 360-degree videos of launches after they took place.
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Besides supplies, the capsule contains a banner showing Glenn in his orange space shuttle launch suit - it's the first thing the station astronauts will see when they open the craft - as well as memorabilia for his family.
Numerous experiments are led by students from more than 23 countries around the world, according to NASA. Because the cargo is so heavy, the mission will use an Atlas V rocket instead of the Antares booster, the usual booster employed during such missions. "This is the first time that this has ever been attempted and. we will review today's 360º setup and endeavor to bring this new perspective of a rocket launch to everyone in the future".
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.
The 19-story missile soared off its seaside launch pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11:11 a.m. EDT/1511 GMT.
Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft will be launched on April 18, 2017, to resupply the International Space Station.
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