April 16, 2021

Photos: Antares rocket blasts off from Eastern Shore of Virginia


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A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket powered off its launch pad at Wallops Island, Virginia, on Feb. 20 with a Cygnus supply ship heading for the International Space Station.

Named for Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician portrayed in “Hidden Figures,” the Cygnus cargo freighter delivered more than 8,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the space station Feb. 22.

The mission began with an on-time launch at 12:36:50 p.m. EST (1736:50 GMT) on Feb. 20 with a successful launch from pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a facility located on Wallops Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Twin Russian-built RD-181 engines flashed to life to propel the Antares launcher off the pad with 864,000 pounds of thrust. The kerosene-fueled engines burned more than three minutes, then the first stage separated, and the rocket’s solid-fueled upper stage ignited to send the Cygnus spacecraft into orbit.

It was the 15th space station resupply mission launched by Northrop Grumman — and its predecessor companies Orbital Science and Orbital ATK — under multibillion-dollar contracts with NASA.

Read our full story for details on the mission.

Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now
Credit: Alex Polimeni / Spaceflight Now

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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