NASA will hold a press conference at 8:15 p.m. EDT (0015 April 18 GMT) to recap today's successful Cygnus NG-11 cargo mission launch. Watch live here!
Today's launch will mark the final resupply mission by Northrop Grumman under NASA's initial Commercial Resupply Services 1 program. It is the eleventh Cygnus launch for NASA, and the ninth to liftoff from Pad-0A here at the Wallops Flight Facility. Three of the 11 Cygnus flights launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida atop Atlas V rockets built by the United Launch Alliance. In 2014, an Antares rocket failed during liftoff from Wallops, destroying its Cygnus payload.
For the NG-11 mission, Cygnus is carrying about 7,600 lbs. of supplies for the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station. That cargo includes 40 mice for an anti-tetanus vaccine study, tiny ThinSats and CubeSats for student experiments and other experiment gear.
This mission will also mark the longest flight of a Northrop Grumman Cygnus, with a mission duration expected to last for up to seven months after the spacecraft departs the space station in June. That extended duration will test a new control moment gyroscope designed to adjust the spacecraft's attitude and orientation without thrusters, as well the Cygnus's ability to serve as an independent platform for extended space research and future deep-space missions.
Cygnus will stay in orbit until at least the fall, when a second Cygnus will launch to the station on another resupply run. Northrop Grumman wants to demonstrate the feasibility of flying two Cygnus on different missions simultaneously.
NASA’s commercial partner Northrop Grumman is scheduled to launch its Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the international Space Station at 4:46 p.m. EDT Wednesday, April 17. The launch, as well as briefings preceding and following liftoff, will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Loaded with 7,600 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware, this Northrop Grumman’s 11th commercial resupply NASA-contracted mission. It will launch from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
About two-and-a-half hours after launch, an automated command will initiate deployment of the spacecraft’s solar arrays. Full deployment will take approximately 30 minutes.
The Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the SS Roger Chaffee, will arrive at the space station Friday, April 19. At about 5:30 a.m., Expedition 59 NASA astronaut Anne McClain will grapple the spacecraft using the station’s robotic arm. She will be backed up by David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency. NASA astronaut Nick Hague will monitor Cygnus systems during its approach. After capture, ground controllers will command the station’s arm to rotate and install Cygnus on the bottom of the station’s Unity module.
Complete NASA TV coverage of launch activities is as follows:
Tuesday, April 16:
Wednesday, April 17:
Friday, April 19
Media registration for the launch and associated activities is closed. However, media may participate via phone in the What’s on Board briefing and prelaunch and postlaunch news conferences. Media interested in participating must contact Gina Anderson at email@example.com for call details.
Media already registered to attend launch activities at Wallops can get more information on schedules, facility hours of operation, remote camera setup, and more at:
The Cygnus spacecraft is scheduled to remain at the space station until July 23, when it will depart, deploy NanoRacks customer CubeSats, and then have an extended mission in orbit until December before it will dispose of several tons of trash during a scheduled fiery reentry and destruction in Earth’s atmosphere.
This will be the final mission under Northrop Grumman’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS-1) contract with NASA before starting the CRS-2 contract missions this fall. Under Northrop Grumman’s contract, the company will fly 11 missions.
Learn more about the Northrop Grumman CRS-11 mission to the International Space Station at:
Live HD Views of Earth from Space
You can watch live, high-definition views of Earth from the International Space Station thanks to NASA's High Definition Earth Viewing experiment (HDEV). This live video provides alternating views from four of the station's external cameras nearly 24/7, with the exception of regular and temporary dropouts that occur when the station switches its connection between different communications satellites. Watch it live in the window above, courtesy of NASA TV.
"Behold, the Earth! See live views of Earth from the International Space Station coming to you by NASA's High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) experiment.
"While the experiment is operational, views will typically sequence through the different cameras. If you are seeing a black image, the Space Station is on the night side of the Earth. If you are seeing an image with text displayed, the communications are switching between satellites and camera feeds are temporarily unavailable. Between camera switches, a black & gray slate will also briefly appear.
"The experiment was activated on April 30, 2014 and is mounted on the External Payload Facility of the European Space Agency’s Columbus module. This experiment includes several commercial HD video cameras aimed at the Earth which are enclosed in a pressurized and temperature controlled housing. To learn more about the HDEV experiment, visit: https://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/ESRS/HDEV/
"Please note: The HDEV cycling of the cameras will sometimes be halted, causing the video to only show select camera feeds. This is handled by the HDEV team, and is only scheduled on a temporary basis. Nominal video will resume once the team has finished their scheduled event."
'ISS Live!' Tune in to the International Space Station
Find out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the "ISS Live" broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.
"Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During 'loss of signal' periods, viewers will see a blue screen.
"Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below."