Orbital ATK progressing in solid rocket propulsion

The United Launch Alliance liftoff was the swan song for George Diller, the well-known voice of countdowns at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

For the first time, United Launch Alliance will place a 360-degree camera on the launch pad, about 100 feet from the rocket, giving Internet viewers an up-close-and-personal look at the launch.

The rocket, which was rolled to the launch pad on Monday, will take off from Launch Complex 41 and carry with it Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft.In 1962, Glenn rode into space aboard the Friendship 7 capsule, which propelled using identical Atlas boosters. These tiny vehicles will either be deployed into space from the station or from the Cygnus capsule itself in the upcoming months, according to NASA.

The S.S. John Glenn will travel for four days and arrive at the orbiting lab on April 22.

Vern Thorp, the program manager for commercial missions at the ULA, stated that this configuration has become the "Atlas V workhorse", as it has launched approximately half of the Atlas V missions up until now. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander and Launch Decision Authority for this mission. As for what the S. S. John Glenn is carrying, the Cygnus OA-7 has 3,459 kg of cargo including supplies for the crew, science experiments, systems hardware, and spacewalk equipment. Orbital has also experienced a failed mission. "Orbital ATK is well-positioned to introduce an intermediate and large class family of launch vehicles by leveraging the strengths of the merged company to achieve low-priced assured space access for current and future national security payloads and other satellites".

The Atlas V OA-7 launch was the sixth major launch operation for the Eastern Range this year. Scientists, so far, have been unable to monitor those conditions on a large scale, and a better understanding could lead to more accurate spacecraft breakup predictions, better spacecraft designs, and materials capable of better resisting the extreme heat and pressure during the return to Earth.

Highlights from the new experiments will include studies on cancer-fighting drugs, crystal growth and atmospheric reentry.

That's because there was a special 360-degree camera installed near the base of the Atlas V rocket en route to the International Space Station.

NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin are scheduled for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EDT/0713 GMT on Thursday, docking at the station about six hours later. So the Cygnus will stay out of the way until the incoming crew is safely onboard the ISS.

"While certainly delivering the cargo is the glorious part, I think removing the disposable cargo, in a way, is extremely important".

  • Carolyn Briggs