US aerospace firm Orbital ATK launched its sixth resupply mission carrying NASA cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) using an upgraded Antares rocket almost two years after its predecessor exploded on lift-off.
The rocket had been refurbished, and Orbital ATK made the launch at 6:45 p.m. CDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.. The liftoff was expected be visible along much of the East Coast of the United States, and you can watch a video of the launch here.
Orbital ATK is one of the companies NASA has contracted to resupply the space station. That freed NASA to focus on a return to deep space and eventually Mars.
So far, the plan is working, but not without program-delaying accidents like the destruction of the first Antares and loss of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Orbital ATK has supplied the station using a ULA rocket while it refurbished the Antares, and SpaceX has made successful supply flights..
The Cygnus capsule atop the Antares is holding more than 5,000 pounds of supplies for the astronauts aboard the station.