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Hurricane Nicole may delay NASA’s unmanned private rocket launch


NASA’s unmanned mission to send supplies to International Space Station may get delayed due to Hurricane Nicole.

The cargo supply mission was scheduled to blast off to ISS from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia this Friday i.e. October 14, but as Hurricane Nicole is forwarding straight towards the tracking site of the rocket in Bermuda, the mission has been postponed until Sunday.

Cygnus aircraft made by Orbital ATK to join Antares rocket

Orbital ATK is the company formed by the merger of Orbital Sciences Corp. and Alliant Telesystems. The company is known to specialise in launching small satellites and Cygnus cargo aircraft to ISS. The company holds a $1.9 Billion contract with NASA to fly eight unmanned cargo missions to ISS with Antares rocket. The cargo ferry will blast off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. The Cygnus cargo module can carry as much as 2,700 kgs of load to International Space Station.

Mission Delayed due to Hurricane Nicole.

Terra satellite has seen a concentration of strong thunderstorm circling the centre of the storm Nicole that appeared brighter than the storms around the centre. Nicole which was a tropical storm till Tuesday had upgraded to a hurricane, is advancing towards the rocket tracking site in Bermuda.

This has delayed the cargo ferry to ISS which was originally scheduled to blast off on Friday, but now it can happen no sooner than Sunday.

NASA has announced that it has time until October 19 and it is trying to make the launch possible on Sunday. If the agency sticks to Sunday launch, the Antares will lift off at 8.03PM EDT. The launch will not only depend on the impact of the storm on NASA’s systems at the tracking site in Bermuda but how the overall Bermuda infrastructure is affected by Nicole.

The cargo mission is not delayed the first time, but there had been several delays since original target in July. But those delays were not weathered elated.

This is the first launch of Antares rocket to ISS after the explosion during the launch attempt in 2014. NASA will telecast the live footage of launch on Sunday, and prelaunch will begin on Saturday provided the Sunday start remains unchanged.

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