Antares is a two-stage medium lift launch vehicle developed by Northrop Grumman to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).
Northrop Grumman states: “Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket is a two-stage vehicle with an optional third stage that provides low-Earth orbit launch capability for payloads weighing up to 8,000kg. Today, the rocket is used primarily to support the company’s commercial resupply services contract with NASA.”
It is named after the constellation Antares, which is a red supergiant star. The first Antares launch took place in April 2013. Since then, Antares has launched 18 missions to the ISS, delivering more than 66,000 pounds of payload through 2019.
NASA’s next cargo resupply launch is scheduled for August 1, 2023 at 8:31 p.m. EDT. It will be NASA’s 19th resupply mission to the ISS.
NASA states: “NASA and commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman are targeting 8:31 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 1, for the launch of the company’s 19th resupply mission to the International Space Station from the NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. agency in Virginia.
The load would be more than 8,200 pounds of supplies. The company’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch on the Antares rocket from the Virginia Spaceport Authority’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Tuesday, August 1. The spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station on Friday, August 4.
The cargo will carry the following according to NASA:
- “The final iteration of a series of spacecraft fire protection experiments.
- A new drinking water dispenser that provides hot water and better sanitation
- Neuronal cells to be grown in 3D cell models for gene therapy testing
- A probe that measures the density of plasma in the upper atmosphere
- A memory card containing creative works from students around the world”
How to watch the launch?
NASA has mentioned that “Live launch coverage will be broadcast on NASA Television, the NASA app and the agency’s website.” It will start at 8 p.m.
The launch may be visible to people throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and possibly the East Coast of the United States. This depends on weather conditions and visibility.
People can also experience the thrill of launching this rocket in person by visiting the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center. The Visitor Center will have special hours on launch day, opening at 5:30 pm EDT and closing at 9 pm EDT.
In conclusion, NASA resupply launches are critical to keeping the International Space Station (ISS) operational. The ISS is a vital research platform and relies on regular cargo resupply missions to keep it running. NASA resupply launches are an exciting event and offer a unique opportunity to see the latest in rocket technology.