The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Saturday, November 2, 2019, in Virginia. Northrop Grummans 12th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. NASA/Bill Ingalls
The Solar Orbiter isn’t the only space mission you can watch launching today — there’s also a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) launched by Northrop Grumman.
This will be Northrop Grumman’s 13th resupply mission to the ISS and will consist of an unmanned Cygnus cargo spacecraft which will be launched aboard an Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft, which will carry cargo including scientific equipment and supplies, will launch today and should arrive at the ISS by Tuesday, February 11, where it will remain docked for a month until May 11.
The Cygnus spacecraft will carry a total of 8,000 pounds of hardware and supplies, including a bacterial experiment into the use of E. coli bacteria to produce a useful chemical called isobutene, an experiment to see what treatments may be able to mitigate human bone loss, and a cell culturing facility to see how cells respond to microgravity.
The spacecraft, named the SS Robert H. Lawrence, will be captured by ISS astronauts using the station’s robotic arm and installed onto the Unity module, attached to an Earth-facing port.
The weather forecast for the launch looks good, with a 95% chance of clear skies, so the odds are low that it will need to be delayed or moved to another day. You can watch the launch live as it happens using the following video:
Launch coverage will begin at 2 p.m. PT on Sunday, February 9, and the actual launch is scheduled for 2:39 p.m. PT.
If you wish to watch the Cygnus craft being captured by the robotic arm and installed onto the ISS, this will also be shown live. To tune in for this event, use the same video link to see coverage beginning at midnight PT on Tuesday, February 11 for the capture, with the installation scheduled for 3 a.m. PT.