NASA providing 1st live 360-degree view of rocket launch

An Atlas V rocket stands ready at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station for a Tuesday morning blastoff of a Cygnus spacecraft destined for the International Space Station. Forecasters are predicting a 90 percent chance of acceptable weather Tuesday and Wednesday.

"A real, true fan of the space program, but also a real contributor", Culbertson said.

NASA, in coordination with commercial cargo provider Orbital ATK and launch service major United Launch Alliance (ULA), is set to broadcast the worlds first live 360-degree stream of a rocket launch on April 18.

Launch Window: 11:41 a.m.

For the first time, viewers will be able to watch the launch live, with all 360 degrees covered. The Centaur upper stage has an Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 cryogenic engine. The experiment involves deliberately setting fire to material aboard the unmanned Cygnus ship after it has departed the space station.

Liftoff is planned for 11:11 a.m. EDT (1511 GMT). As a result, the third seat of the Soyuz MS-04 vehicle will carry additional supplies, not an astronaut or cosmonaut. Cygnus will then approach close enough for the station's 55-foot-long robotic arm to grapple the supply craft and connect it to one of the ports on the orbiting laboratory. Also on board: 160 pounds of spacewalk equipment, about 40 pounds of Russian hardware and fresh fruit and other treats for the crew. It will be Orbital ATK's eighth mission to the International Space Station.

Viewers may use the YouTube app to view the launch on a smartphone. Three additional flights were added later and Orbital won a subsequent contract for another six resupply missions. While that work was going on, Orbital used Atlas 5s for two Cygnus missions in 2015 and 2016.

  • Carolyn Briggs