The NASA video above (and on YouTube here) shows the Antares rocket rolling out to Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island. The rocket will launch an uncrewed Cygnus cargo ship — also built by Northrop Grumman — early Saturday (Nov. 17) to deliver 7,500 pounds (3,402 kilograms) of NASA supplies to the space station. Liftoff is scheduled for 4:01 a.m. EST (0901 GMT).
After a few days' travel, Cygnus will arrive at the International Space Station, where it will be captured by astronauts using a robotic arm and parked at an open berth on the orbiting lab. [The Strange Science Riding on the Cygnus Spacecraft]
The Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft are built by Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and are part of a fleet of robotic cargo ships that regularly deliver food, experiments and other supplies to the International Space Station. The other cargo ships include vehicles built by Russia, Japan, Europe and the U.S. spaceflight company SpaceX.
Most of those resupply ships are disposable and burn up in Earth's atmosphere at their mission's end. Currently, only SpaceX's Dragon space capsules can return cargo to Earth. Last weekend, Japan successfully tested a small re-entry capsule to return some experiment samples to Earth before its latest H-II Transfer Vehicle burned up.
The Cygnus launching Saturday will be the tenth for NASA by Northrop Grumman (formerly Orbital ATK). The company named the NG-10 spacecraft the S.S. John Young in honor of the famed Apollo 16 moonwalker who also commanded NASA's first space shuttle mission, STS-1, in 1981. Young died in January at age 87.
Editor's Note: This article was updated Nov. 15 with a new launch date and time; the launch has been delayed again due to weather.