Atlas rocket blasts off from Cape Canaveral

Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft will carry cargo to resupply the International Space Station (ISS).

Pending NASA's specific cargo needs, Orbital ATK is prepared to launch two additional CRS missions this year that will launch aboard the company's Antares rockets from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

ABOVE IMAGE: An Atlas V rocket carrying an Orbital ATK Cynus spacecraft stands ready on Launch Complex-41 launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The 360-degree live stream will be broadcast on NASA Television's YouTube channel starting ten minutes before the scheduled 11:11 a.m. EDT launch at youtube.com/nasatelevision.

If Cygnus is launched as planned on Tuesday, it will linger in orbit until Saturday to allow time for a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, slated to lift off on Thursday with two new station crewmembers, to dock at the outpost.

The coolest part about watching tomorrow's launch is definitely the 360 viewing, which means that anyone watching the live stream can use their mouse to "look" up, down, and all around at the launch.

"It's great, I mean, to be able to get in there and experience that 360-degree view", said Vern Thorp, a program manager for rocket maker United Launch Alliance.

The first stage of the Atlas V booster is powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine. However, scientists are confident about suitable weather conditions for launch.

A Cygnus cargo ship, shortly before capture by the space station's robot arm (file photo).

But before its mission comes to a fiery end, Cygnus will spend a couple of hours running an automated experiment to see how fire acts in microgravity. The half-hour launch window opens at 10:11 AM CST. It will launch on ULA's Atlas V rocket.

This will be Orbital ATK's 7th contracted mission for NASA and it's final from Cape Canaveral, as it returns to launching from Wallops, Virginia.

But during the press conference, Frank Culbertson, a former NASA astronaut who is now president of Orbital ATK's Space Systems Group, publicly thanked Diller for his service.

  • Carolyn Briggs