A pair of European-built, NASA-backed research satellites set for launch Tuesday from California will extend 15 years of global gravity field measurements collected by the GRACE mission before it ended last year, supplying scientists with data to help track the melting of Earth’s ice sheets and chart the impacts of floods and droughts.
An Orbital ATK Antares rocket streaked into orbit early Monday from Wallops Island, Virginia, with a commercial Cygnus cargo craft carrying a quantum research experiment, an investigation into the properties of concrete in space, fresh food and other provisions for the International Space Station’s six-person crew.
Three days after launching from the Virginia coastline, an Orbital ATK Cygnus supply ship completed its final approach to the International Space Station on Thursday with more than 7,000 pounds of cargo and experiments. The automated freighter was captured by the station’s robotic arm at 5:26 a.m. EDT (0926 GMT).
Orbital ATK readied an upgraded Antares rocket for launch Monday from Wallops Island, Va., to deliver more than 3 tons of crew supplies, science gear, spare parts and three small satellites to the International Space Station to test miniaturized, low-cost technologies for Earth observation applications.
The launch of five commercial Iridium message relay satellites and a pair of U.S.-German orbiting geophysics probes on a Falcon 9 rocket from California has been delayed three days to May 22, and a week-long schedule slip to May 31 is expected for the next SpaceX flight from Cape Canaveral with an SES communications payload.