Riding a self-propelled transporter, an Orbital ATK Antares rocket rolled out to it launch pad Thursday on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for final preparations to send a Cygnus supply ship to the International Space Station.
The two-stage rocket was stood up at pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility after a predawn rollout from Orbital ATK’s horizontal integration facility. The approximately two-hour transfer occurred in steady rain, and ground crews added weather protection to the Antares rocket’s upper stage and payload fairing for the rollout.
Technicians engaged hydraulic cylinders to lift the 139-foot-tall (42.5-meter) rocket vertical at pad 0A after it rolled up the ramp to the facility. Technicians then began connecting propellant and other fluid lines between the launch pad and the Antares booster.
The Antares rocket’s first stage is powered by two kerosene-fueled RD-181 main engines that will generate around 864,000 pounds of thrust after liftoff. A Castor 30XL solid rocket motor powers Antares’ upper stage.
The Cygnus spacecraft atop the rocket will ferry more than three tons of supplies, food and experiments to the space station’s six-person crew. Liftoff is set for Saturday at 7:37 a.m. EST (1237 GMT).
Read our full story for details on the mission.
The photos below show the Antares rocket rolling out at Wallops on Thursday.
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