If the October 2016 Antares launch at Wallops marked a litany of firsts, Saturday-turned-Sunday's is checking off a series of seconds: the second use for Orbital's RD-181 engines, the second flight since the program's resurrection in the wake of an October 2014 rocket explosion, the company's second launch of the year (the other taking place at Florida's Cape Canaveral).
A rogue aircraft strayed into the hazard area in the final minute of countdown early Saturday and blew the chance to launch an Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus cargo craft to the International Space Station from Wallops Island. Since the launch window was only for 5 minutes, the lift-off had to be aborted and Orbital ATK rescheduled the Antares launch for approximately at 7:14 a.m. EST on Sunday, Nov. 12.
Orbital ATK tweeted: "We were working no issues until an aircraft flew into restricted airspace". Many of those launches have been out of the state-owned MARS.
Officially Cygnus OA-8 (enhanced version) with 3.7 t of payload will be launched tomorrow from same pad at 12:14 UTC. The spacecraft will remain attached to the ISS for one month. The craft is dubbed the S.S. Gene Cernan, after the last astronaut to walk on the moon.
The interior of the rocket was packed to the brim with crew supplies and science experiments weighing a total of 7,400 pounds, the equivalent of three Toyota Corollas. One of the box-shaped satellites will test a laser-based communications systems designed for small spacecrafts.
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