Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus supply ship set for liftoff Saturday will deliver to the International Space Station the final hardware for a series of ambitious spacewalks later this month to install a new coolant system on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a $2 billion particle physics experiment seeking the cosmic signatures of dark matter and antimatter.
A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket rolled out to its launch pad on Virginia’s Eastern Shore early Tuesday, setting the stage for liftoff Saturday on a resupply flight to the International Space Station that will debut an upgraded launcher and Cygnus cargo vehicle capable of hauling heavier payloads into orbit.
Two weeks after a launch pad fire forced a delay, a Japanese H-2B rocket lifted off Tuesday with an HTV cargo freighter to deliver upgraded batteries, experiments and provisions to the International Space Station. Liftoff from the Tanegashima Space Center occurred at 1605 GMT (12:05 p.m. EDT) Tuesday.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the prime contractor for Japan’s H-2B rocket, said Friday that engineers concluded a fire on the launch pad during a countdown earlier this month was most likely sparked by static electricity and stimulated by oxygen. The H-2B rocket launch has been rescheduled for Tuesday to start a resupply mission to the International Space Station.