Wayward plane scuttles ISS supply launch

Credit NASA  Bill Ingalls

Credit NASA Bill Ingalls

An Antares rocket rolls out to pad 0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Thursday morning. Many of those launches have been out of the state-owned MARS.

Sunday's 7:14 a.m. launch should be visible as far north as Boston and as far south as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The Cygnus capsule holds more than 7,400 pounds of cargo, including fresh fruit and vegetables for the station's six-man crew, and mealworms and micro clover for student experiments.

A rocket launch on Virginia's Eastern Shore should be visible across Northern Virginia on Saturday morning. The spacecraft will remain attached to the ISS for one month.

The unexpected entry of the flying guest has led Orbital ATK, which has a $1.9bn (£1.4bn) contract with Nasa for ISS resupply missions, to postpone the rocket launch to November 12, at 7:14am EST (12:14 GMT). Orbital ATK has used its own Antares rocket launched from Virginia four times - with one launch failure in 2014 - and contracted with United Launch Alliance for three Atlas 5 flights from Cape Canaveral.

A supply run to the International Space Station has been delayed a day by a stray plane.

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First in 2017 mission of Antares rocket seemed to reaching successful final, but in the last minute before igniting its two powerful RD-181 engines, mission control center made a decision to abort mission and scrub launch.

Orbital ATK named this spacecraft after the late astronaut Eugene "Gene" Cernan, the last man to set foot on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission.

But the unseasonably cold temperatures are still within the acceptable range for an Antares rocket launch, which would be halted only if the weather dipped below 20 F (-6.6 C), launch managers said.

The RD-181 engines performed better than predicted on an Antares launch in October 2016, giving engineers confidence to loosen performance limits for the OA-8 launch.

Little did they know they would be pushing back the launch anyway.

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