In Brief

Private Rocket to Make 2nd Launch Try Tonight: Watch Live

Antares on launch pad at sunrise
Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket and unmanned Cygnus spacecraft sit on the launch pad during sunrise on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (Image credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

The evening launch of a private spaceship bound for the International Space Station was canceled yesterday (Oct. 27) all because of a wayward sailboat. But the rocket will make another liftoff attempt tonight from the eastern coast of Virginia, and you can watch it live.

Orbital Sciences' unmanned Cygnus spacecraft is now scheduled to blast off atop an Antares rocket at 6:22 p.m. EDT (2222 GMT) from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. Weather officials have predicted a 95 percent chance of favorable conditions, according to NASA. As long as skies are clear, the launch could be visible for observers along the Eastern Seaboard, from as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as South Carolina. will broadcast a live webcast of the launch, courtesy of NASA, beginning at 5:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT).

The launch was originally scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT (2245 GMT) last night. Weather officials gave an astonishingly good forecast of 99 percent "go" conditions for launch. But before the liftoff time, a stray boater entered restricted waters downrange of the launch pad and did not respond to mission controllers' warnings. The launch had to be called off 10 minutes before the last possible liftoff time in the launch window.

Cygnus is packed with about 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of astronaut food, supplies and science experiments. The robotic capsule is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Sunday (Nov. 2) and stay for about a month before it is reloaded with astronaut trash and sent to burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

Orbital Sciences, based in Dulles, Virginia, has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA to make eight cargo trips to the orbiting outpost. Tonight's launch will mark the start of Orbital Sciences' third official resupply mission.

NASA also awarded a $1.6 billion contract to the California-based company SpaceX to fly a dozen delivery missions to the space station. SpaceX has successfully completed four of those official resupply flights using its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket.

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Megan Gannon Contributing Writer

Megan has been writing for Live Science and since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity on a Zero Gravity Corp. to follow students sparking weightless fires for science. Follow her on Twitter for her latest project.