Live Launch Commentary Airing Now for Northrop Grumman CRS-15

NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman is targeting today for the launch of its 15th resupply mission to the International Space Station. The five-minute launch window opens at 12:36 p.m. EDT. Live launch commentary has begun on NASA TV.

Loaded with about 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch on the company’s Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

A launch today would mean a scheduled arrival at the space station Monday, Feb. 22, of the Cygnus spacecraft, dubbed the SS Katherine Johnson.

About 90 Minutes Until Launch; Weather Still at 75% Favorable

The latest Wallops Range forecast keeps weather at 75% favorable for the 12:36 p.m. EST launch window today of NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman‘s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague, Virginia. The International Space Station-bound Cygnus is loaded with about 8,000 pounds of cargo.

Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app beginning at 12 p.m. EST.

Countdown Underway for NG-15 Launch; How to Watch

The countdown is underway for today’s 12:36 p.m. EST launch window of NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman‘s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft. Weather continues to be 75% favorable for the launch of this resupply mission to the International Space Station.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is in the vertical launch position on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

For those who’d like to follow along with the count early, live video and control room chatter is now airing on NASA Wallops’ IBM Cloud Video. Live coverage of the launch with commentary will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app beginning at 12 p.m. EST.

The five-minute launch window opens at 12:36 p.m. EST, with liftoff taking place at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague, Virginia.

In this time-lapse video, a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is transported from the Horizontal Integration Facility to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A. There it is lifted to its vertical position, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black

The NASA Visitor Center — including its parking lot — at Wallops will be CLOSED for this launch.

Viewing locations on Chincoteague Island include Robert Reed Park on Main Street or Beach Road spanning the area between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. The beach at the Assateague Island National Seashore/Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge will NOT be open during the launch.

This launch occurs during daylight hours, so it will not be as visible as a launch at night. However, depending on cloud cover and other local conditions (such as elevation and obstruction of the horizon), it still may be visible in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Each resupply mission to the station delivers scientific investigations in the areas of biology and biotechnology, Earth and space science, physical sciences, and technology development and demonstrations.

This Cygnus is loaded with about 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware. Research investigations launching to the orbiting laboratory aboard this Cygnus include:

  • The Spaceborne Computer-2 from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which aims to demonstrate that current Earth-based data processing of space station experimental data can be performed in orbit
  • An experiment studying muscle strength in worms
  • An investigation into how microgravity may optimize the production of artificial retinas

Cargo resupply from U.S. companies ensures a national capability to deliver critical science research to the space station, significantly increasing NASA’s ability to conduct new investigations at the only laboratory in space.

Weather Stands at 75% Favorable for Tomorrow’s Antares Launch

The Friday Wallops Range forecast keeps weather at 75% favorable for tomorrow’s launch window of NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman‘s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft.

The primary concerns for launch at this time are ground winds and a slight chance of cloud ceilings and cumulus clouds.

Rain showers will continue throughout the day on Friday as an area of low pressure moves off the Mid-Atlantic Coast. As the associated frontal boundary moves out to sea, precipitation will come to an end late this afternoon into the early evening hours.

High pressure will quickly build into the region overnight, providing a decrease in cloudiness and chilly conditions for launch. Breezy, northwesterly winds (20-25 knot gusts) are expected overnight tonight and into the day on Saturday. Gusty winds will result in sea states generally running from 4-6 feet in the surveillance areas off the Wallops coast.

Although clouds will decrease in coverage late tonight and into the morning on Saturday, some scattered cloudiness is expected at T-0.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is in the vertical launch position on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-15 Cygnus spacecraft is named after NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, a Black woman who time and again broke through barriers of gender and race. The launch is scheduled 12:36 p.m. EST, Feb. 20, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

Northrop Grumman is targeting 12:36 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 20, for the International Space Station-bound Cygnus, loaded with about 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware. Launch will be from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague, Virginia.

Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app beginning at 12 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 20.

Prelaunch Briefing This Morning for Northrop Grumman CRS-15 Launch

A prelaunch briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website today beginning at 11 a.m. EST to highlight launch preparations for Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station to deliver approximately 8,000 pounds of research, supplies, and hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew.

Viewers can submit questions for the briefings using #askNASA on social media.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is in the vertical launch position on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-15 Cygnus spacecraft is named after NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, a Black woman who time and again broke through barriers of gender and race. The launch is scheduled 12:36 p.m. EST, Feb. 20, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

The Cygnus is scheduled for launch on the company’s Antares rocket at 12:36 p.m. EST, Saturday, Feb. 20, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The prelaunch briefing participants are:

  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA
  • David Brady, associate program scientist, International Space Station Program Science Office, NASA
  • Shannon Fitzpatrick, chief, Range and Mission Management Office, Wallops Flight Facility, NASA
  • Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, Tactical Space, Northrop Grumman
  • Kurt Eberly, director, Space Launch Programs, Launch and Missile Defense Systems, Northrop Grumman

Follow launch activities at the launch blog and @NASA_Wallops and learn more about space station activities by following @space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Weather Remains 75% Favorable for 2/20 Launch

Today’s Wallops Range forecast keeps weather at 75% favorable for the Saturday launch window of NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft.

Northwesterly winds are expected Saturday morning into Saturday afternoon as an arctic area of high pressure builds into the Mid-Atlantic. Scattered low-level clouds, breezy winds, and cold temperatures are expected for Saturday, Feb. 20. The primary concerns for launch at this time are ground winds and a very slight chance of cumulus clouds and cloud ceilings.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is in the vertical launch position on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-15 Cygnus spacecraft is named after NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, a Black woman who time and again broke through barriers of gender and race. The launch is scheduled 12:36 p.m. EST, Feb. 20, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

Northrop Grumman is targeting 12:36 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 20, for the International Space Station-bound Cygnus, loaded with about 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware. Launch will be from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague, Virginia.

Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app beginning at 12 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 20, with a prelaunch event Friday, Feb. 19.

Crew Gearing Up for Cygnus Capture and Cargo Operations

Northrop Grumman's Cygnus space freighter sits atop the Antares rocket at the Wallops Flight Facility launch pad in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Patrick Black
Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter sits atop the Antares rocket at the Wallops Flight Facility launch pad in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Patrick Black

The Expedition 64 crew is getting ready for next week’s arrival of the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply ship following its launch on Saturday. The orbital residents are also maintaining science operations and unpacking a new Russian spacecraft at the International Space Station.

The Antares rocket with the Cygnus space freighter atop rolled out to its launch pad on Tuesday at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft will blast off on Saturday at 12:36 p.m. EST carrying about 8,000 pounds of science experiments, station hardware and crew supplies for the orbital lab. NASA TV will broadcast the launch activities live beginning at 12 p.m.

Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and Michael Hopkins will be on duty Monday morning when Cygnus arrives for its approach and capture. Noguchi of JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) will command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to capture Cygnus at about 4:40 a.m. Hopkins of NASA will monitor Cygnus’ approach and rendezvous as it reaches a point about 10 meters from the station.

The duo was joined Thursday afternoon by NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Shannon Walker and Victor Glover to review the upcoming Cygnus cargo operations. Afterward, the quintet called down to mission controllers to discuss unpacking and activating some of the critical science experiments arriving on the U.S. space freighter.

Combustion research and eye checks were also on the schedule aboard the station on Thursday. Walker and Hopkins partnered up on a study observing how flames spread in microgravity. Rubins took charge of eye exams and checked the eyes of Glover and Noguchi using optical coherence tomography.

Russia’s new cargo craft, the ISS Progress 77, is being unpacked today by Commander Sergey Ryzhikov and Flight Engineer Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The pair also serviced a variety of Russian electronics and life support gear throughout Thursday.

Weather Forecast at 75% Favorable for Saturday’s NG CRS-15 Launch

The Wallops Range forecast issued today for the Feb. 20 launch of Northrop Grumman’s 15th resupply mission to the International Space Station puts weather at 75% favorable, with ground winds and cumulus clouds being the main weather concerns.

NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman is targeting 12:36 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 20, for the launch.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a Cygnus resupply spacecraft is in the vertical launch position on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-15 Cygnus spacecraft is named after NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, a Black woman who time and again broke through barriers of gender and race. The launch is scheduled 12:36 p.m. EST, Feb. 20, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/Patrick Black

Loaded with approximately 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch on the company’s Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app beginning at 12 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 20, with a prelaunch event Friday, Feb. 19.