A Northrop Grumman rocket carrying more than 4 tons of supplies for the International Space Station will have to wait at least one more day to launch after a fire alarm at its mission control center thwarted a liftoff early Sunday (Nov. 6).
The Antares rocket was about 10 minutes away from a planned liftoff at 5:50 a.m. EST (1050 GMT) from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, when Northrop Grumman called off the flight. A fire alarm at the company's control center in nearby Dulles, Virginia, forced a building evacuation, preventing launch controllers from going through with the launch.
"Our thoughts are with their team their their safety is at the top most important, so we are going to try it again tomorrow," NASA spokesperson Chelsey Ballarte said during live commentary. Liftoff is now set for Monday, Nov. 7, at 5:27 a.m. EST (1027 GMT). You can watch the Cygnus cargo launch live on Space.com, courtesy of NASA TV, beginning at 5 a.m. EST (1000 GMT).
Northrop Grumman will use its Antares rocket to launch the uncrewed NG-18 Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station on a mission to deliver more than 8,200 pounds (3,720 kilograms) of supplies to the lab's astronaut crew. It is the 18th cargo mission for NASA by Northrop Grumman.
The upcoming launch is also Northrop Grumman's heaviest delivery yet, with the company squeezing in about 44 pounds (20 kg) of additional supplies due to refinements to the launch system. Among its precious cargo are a bioprinter that will attempt to print human knee cartilage in space and cow ovarian cells to study how weightlessness affects the growth of cells.
If all goes well, the NG-18 Cygnus cargo ship — which has been named the SS Sally Ride in honor of astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space who died in 2012 — should arrive at the space station on Wednesday (Nov. 10).
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