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.
Physicists are gearing up to send a re-engineered science instrument originally designed for lofty balloon flights high in Earth’s atmosphere to the International Space Station next week to broaden their knowledge of cosmic rays, subatomic particles traveling on intergalactic routes that could hold the key to unlocking mysteries about supernovas, black holes, pulsars and dark matter.