Final Preparations Made for Upcoming Launch at Wallops - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Final Preparations Made for Upcoming Launch at Wallops

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Cygnus cargo space craft. (Photo: WBOC) Cygnus cargo space craft. (Photo: WBOC)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. - With officials at Orbital ATK and NASA eyeing an early July launch for the next Antares rocket, final preparations are being made at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility for the mission.  Preparations that include loading up the Cygnus cargo spacecraft with supplies for the astronauts on-board the International Space Station.

The Antares rocket will carrying the Cygnus to low-Earth orbit and from there, the spacecraft will be remotely piloted to the International Space Station.  Cygnus will be carrying more than 5,200 pounds of supplies for the six astronauts on-board.

"When you think about six people living in space, you might forget that you need socks, you need printer paper, you need food, and you need pencils, and you need experiments, and you need spare parts that might break," said Daniel Tani, a Senior Director at Orbital ATK.

About a month ago, the Cygnus was put together at the Wallops for the first time.  The bottom portion of the spacecraft is made my Orbital ATK in Dulles, Va which contains all of the avionics and the propulsion system.  The top portion is the cargo container, which is constructed in Italy.  Now that the two pieces are put together, the spacecraft can be fueled up.  The next step is attaching it to the Antares rocket.

"This will be on the very top of the second stage, so on the very top of the rocket.  Bolted on top of the rocket.  And then there will be a fairing, the bullet shaped thing that you see on top, that will protect the spacecraft while it's on the pad and during its initial launch," said Tani.

Each Cygnus mission is named after a fallen astronaut.  The upcoming mission in July is named after former space shuttle commander, Alan Poindexter.

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