Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft has successfully launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on its way to becoming the second private vehicle to resupply the International Space Station.
“The unmanned Cygnus spacecraft and its Antares rocket soared into orbit with a tremendous roar at 10:58 a.m. EDT (1458 GMT) today from [Wallops] — a huge success for the commercial spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corp., which built both vehicles. The spacecraft is now chasing the space station and is due to arrive early Sunday (Sept. 22), when it will be captured by astronauts using the outpost’s robotic arm.”
Cygnus bears “1,300 pounds of food, clothing and goodies for the astronauts,” The Associated Press says.
Orbital Sciences and billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corp. have been contracted to supply the orbiting outpost since the space shuttle was retired two years ago. Two SpaceX Dragon robotic capsules have already been up on resupply missions, the most recent one in March.