Northrop Grumman CRS-18 Mission Prepares for Launch

The next resupply mission to the International Space Station from commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman is preparing for launch during a window that opens 5:50 a.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 6,  at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. 

A large white rocket with a bright white flame trailing launches off a pad, a bright white plume of smoke spreading out underneath over a large area. The rocket is just over a large, white water tower. The sky is bright blue with no clouds, with bright green grass.
File photo of the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with the company’s Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches at 6:01 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, from the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0A, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted cargo resupply mission for NASA to the International Space Station is carrying nearly 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew.
Photo Credit: NASA Wallops/Brian Bonsteel

Loaded with more than 8,200 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’s Pad 0A on Wallops Island. 

This Cygnus spacecraft is named S.S. Sally Ride, in honor of the first American woman in space. 

Live coverage of the launch will air on NASA Television, the agency’s website and the NASA app beginning at 5:30 a.m. EST Sunday, Nov. 6, with a prelaunch briefing Saturday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. EDT. 

Live coverage of the mission countdown is scheduled to begin at approximately 1:50 a.m. EDT on the Wallops IBM Cloud Video site. Note that the time changes from Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) to Eastern Standard Time (EST) at 2 a.m., Nov. 6. 

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will be open for this launch. Gates open at 3:30 a.m. EST. Viewing locations on Chincoteague Island include Robert Reed Park on Main Street or Beach Road spanning the area between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. The Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Atlantic beaches also provide good viewing locations. 

Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for this launch includes curated launch resources, timely mission updates, and a virtual guest passport stamp following a successful launch. 

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 Wallops Facebook, ISS Facebook, and ISS Instagram accounts. 

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. 

Research investigations launching to the orbiting laboratory aboard this Cygnus include: 

  • a facility that attempt to advance 3D biological printing of human tissue in space 
  • a study taking advantage of microgravity to better understand catastrophic mudflows that can occur after wildfires 
  • Uganda and Zimbabwe’s first satellites developed as a part of the BIRDS program, an interdisciplinary project for non-space faring countries 
  • an investigation into how microgravity influences ovary function 
  • an experiment that studies if changes space-grown plants undergo to adapt to microgravity can be transmitted through seeds to the next generation 

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.