Countdown Underway for NG-16 Launch; Now 90% favorable for weather

The countdown is underway for today’s 5:56 p.m. EDT launch window of NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman‘s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft. The latest weather update puts us at

90% favorable for the launch of this resupply mission to the International Space Station.

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 5:56 p.m. EDT, 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.

NG-16 Launch Visibility Map
NG-16 Launch Visibility Map

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.

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.

L-24 Weather Update – Still 80% Favorable for Tomorrow’s Antares Launch

The Monday Wallops Range forecast keeps weather at 80% favorable for tomorrow’s launch window of NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman‘s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft.

The primary concern for launch at this time is a slight chance of violating the cumulus cloud rule.

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, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-16 Cygnus spacecraft is named honor of American astronaut Ellison Onizuka who was the first Asian American to fly in space. Onizuka’s first space mission was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51-C in 1985. The launch is scheduled 5:56 p.m. EDT, Aug. 10, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/ Terry Zaperach

Northrop Grumman is targeting 5:56 p.m EDT Tuesday, Aug. 10, for the International Space Station-bound Cygnus spacecraft, loaded with about 8,200 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 5:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Prelaunch Briefing This Afternoon for Northrop Grumman CRS-16 Launch

A prelaunch briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website today beginning at 1 p.m. EDT to highlight launch preparations for Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station to deliver approximately 8,200 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, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-16 Cygnus spacecraft is named honor of American astronaut Ellison Onizuka who was the first Asian American to fly in space. Onizuka’s first space mission was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51-C in 1985. The launch is scheduled 5:56 p.m. EDT, Aug. 10, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/ Terry Zaperach

The Cygnus is scheduled for launch on the company’s Antares rocket at 5:56 p.m. EDT, Tuesday, Aug. 10, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. 

The prelaunch briefing participants are: 

  • Joel Montalbano, International Space Station Program Manager 
  •  Kirt Costello, chief scientist for International Space Station Program 
  •  Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, Tactical Space Systems, Northrop Grumman 
  • Kurt Eberly, director, Space Launch Programs, Launch and Missile Defense Systems, Northrop Grumman 
  •  Brittany McKinley, Wallops Range Antares Project Manager 

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 Forecast at 80% Favorable for Tuesday’s NG CRS-16 Launch

The Wallops Range forecast issued for the Aug. 10 launch of Northrop Grumman’s 16th resupply mission to the International Space Station puts weather at 80% favorable, with cumulus clouds being the main weather concern. 

NASA commercial cargo provider Northrop Grumman is targeting 5:56 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 10, 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, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-16 Cygnus spacecraft is named honor of American astronaut Ellison Onizuka who was the first Asian American to fly in space. Onizuka’s first space mission was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51-C in 1985. The launch is scheduled 5:56 p.m. EDT, Aug. 10, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/ Terry Zaperach

Loaded with approximately 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 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 5:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 10, with a prelaunch briefing  Monday, Aug. 9 at 1 p.m. EDT. 

NASA’s Virtual Launch Guests Share Lessons That Introduced Them to Space

With school just around the corner, we wondered what lessons served as an introduction to space for the virtual guests of our upcoming launch, Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted commercial resupply services mission for NASA to the International Space Station.

Teachers and parents interested in fostering a love of space, take note. Most answers cited science, physics, astronomy, and math classes as catching their awareness. Among specific lessons, guests recalled calculating their weight on different planets, building a space backpack tank, and Professor Kaufmanis “Star of Bethlehem” lectures at the University of Minnesota.

mascot in spacesuit with kids sitting on floor watching presentation
Stennis Space Center mascot Orbie is presented to students during outreach activities at Lillie Burney Elementary School in Hattiesburg, Miss. NASA senior staff members from Stennis Space Center visited the school Jan. 27, 2012, for a morning of activities and outreach to students and school officials.

Are you a teacher working on an amazing lesson plan? Sometimes it doesn’t take much to spark an interest. One respondent shared that “my first-grade reader had a page about the lunar landing. It was always my favorite!” Another said they enjoyed learning about space due to “low effort lesson days where the teacher would play ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy.’”

Who doesn’t love to watch a launch? Watching launches or landings was also frequently mentioned either in the classroom or in other settings. Witnessing the Apollo missions, space shuttle missions, or NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission with the first astronauts launching in a Crew Dragon just last year, had a lasting effect on interest in space according to this set of virtual guests.
Lessons learned outside of school stuck with our respondents as well. Over 30 said it was their dad, mom, or grandparent that taught them about space. Two special grandparents mentioned they’ve gotten their lessons on space from their grandchildren. And a handful of respondents have been lucky enough to meet astronauts and cite those encounters as why they engage with space now.

To really take it back to basics, a few guests responded that sleeping outside sparked their interest! One shared that they saw a meteor and “remember that color to this day.”

example of virtual passport, with four event stamps taped inside
Virtual passport.

Whatever the lesson or reason you’re interested in space, we’d love to have you along as part of our virtual guest program. You can join our standing list or register for specific upcoming missions. In addition to sharing your thoughts on a launch-related question, virtual guests receive emails with curated launch resources, notifications about NASA activities, and updates on any launch time or date changes.

Whether it’s your first stamp or your eighth, NASA hopes you’ll print, fold, and get ready to fill your virtual passport. These are great for students of all ages! Stamps will be emailed following docking to all virtual attendees who registered by email.

For teachers, NASA also offers STEM resources for all ages – K-12, college, or university. Topics include engineering, Earth science, life science, math, physics, and more. You can find lesson plans and activities, posters and imagery, interactive media and more.

Northrop Grumman is targeting launch no earlier than 5:56 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Aug. 10. The Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket is scheduled to lift off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

Behind-the-scenes processing of Cygnus spacecraft

The Northrop Grumman and Wallops teams have been hard at work preparing the Cygnus spacecraft for its journey to the International Space Station. Check out these behind-the-scenes photos of the process!

technicians in clean suits loading rectangle cloth container into cylinder spacecraft.
Northrop Grumman teams load cargo into the Cygnus spacecraft that will be sent up to the International Space Station.
technicians in clean suits inside of spacecraft
Northrop Grumman Technicians secure the cargo inside the Cygnus spacecraft.
spacecraft being connected to top portion of rocket with american flag in background
The Cygnus spacecraft is prepared to be attached to the second stage of the Antares vehicle.
spacecraft being connected to top portion of rocket with american flag in background
The Cygnus spacecraft is prepared to be attached to the second stage of the Antares vehicle.

NASA Invites the Public to Virtual NASA Social Event for Next Northrop Grumman Cygnus Launch Set for Aug. 10

The Northrop Grumman (NG) CRS-16 Cargo Resupply mission will launch on Tuesday, Aug. 10,at 5:56 p.m. EDT carrying the Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station.

We’re inviting the public to participate in a virtual #NASAsocial event for the Northrop Grumman CRS-16 Cargo Resupply mission. The #Cygnus spacecraft will carry nearly 8,200 pounds of cargo 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, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 16th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. The CRS-16 Cygnus spacecraft is named honor of American astronaut Ellison Onizuka who was the first Asian American to fly in space. Onizuka’s first space mission was aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-51-C in 1985. The launch is scheduled 5:56 p.m. EDT, Aug. 10, 2021. Credit: NASA Wallops/ Terry Zaperach 

The launch is scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, at 5:56 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island. It will launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A launch pad. The launch will be live streamed.

While we cannot invite the public onsite for one of our usual NASA Social events, we are excited to present an opportunity for people of all ages from all around the world to participate in. 

We will share videos and information up until the day of launch including: 

  • Science overviews
  • Virtual viewing of the NG CRS-16 launch 
  • Behind-the-scenes of a launch

    RSVP to the Facebook event for social media updates to stay up to date on mission information, mission highlights, and interaction opportunities.

 

Cygnus Solar Arrays Deployed; Launch Blog Coverage Concludes

The solar arrays have successfully deployed on Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft that is on its way to deliver approximately 8,000 pounds of scientific investigations, cargo, and supplies to the International Space Station after launching at 12:36 p.m. EST Saturday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island in Virginia.

Post-launch press release

More Northrop Grumman CRS-15 mission imagery from NASA on Flickr

File photo of a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft, with solar arrays deployed, approaching the International Space Station, Oct. 5, 2020. Credit: NASA

Coverage of the spacecraft’s approach and arrival to the orbiting laboratory will begin Monday, Feb. 22, at 3:00 a.m. EST on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. Arrival at station is expected in the 4 a.m. hour, EST.

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi will capture Cygnus, and NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins will be acting as a backup. After capture, the spacecraft will be installed on the Unity module’s Earth-facing port. NASA TV coverage of the spacecraft’s installation will begin Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 a.m. EST.

This delivery is Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo flight to the space station and will support dozens of new and existing investigations.

Included aboard Cygnus for delivery to the space station:

A life support upgrade

The Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) is a crucial element of regenerative life support hardware that provides clean air and water to the space station crew. Current systems enable recovery of about 93% of the water and water vapor on the station. The system will get an upgrade thanks to the Exploration ECLSS: Brine Processor System. This investigation demonstrates technology to recover additional water from the Urine Processor Assembly. The brine processor’s dual membrane bladder allows water vapor to pass through while filtering out the brine and the majority of contaminants. Long-duration crewed exploration missions require about 98% water recovery, and this technology demonstration in brine processing will help achieve this goal. This Brine Processor System plans to close this gap for the urine waste stream of the space station.

A new vision

Millions of people on Earth suffer from retinal degenerative diseases. These conditions have no cure, although treatments can slow their progression. Artificial retinas or retinal implants may provide a way to restore meaningful vision for those affected. In 2018, startup LambdaVision sent their first experiment to the space station to determine whether the process used to create artificial retinal implants by forming a thin film one layer at a time may work better in microgravity.

Protein-Based Artificial Retina Manufacturing builds on the first project, evaluating a manufacturing system that uses a light-activated protein to replace the function of damaged cells in the eye. This information may help LambdaVision uncover whether microgravity optimizes production of these retinas, and could assist people back on Earth.

I dream of space

Strapped inside sleeping bags, astronauts often report getting a better night’s sleep during their stays aboard the space station than when lying on a bed on Earth. The ESA (European Space Agency) Dreams experiment will provide a quantitative look at these astronaut sleep reports. When crew members get ready for bed, they will add another step: donning a sleep monitoring headband. The investigation serves as a technology demonstration of the Dry-EEG Headband in microgravity while also monitoring astronaut sleep quality during a long-duration mission. Raw data will be available to scientists for analysis, and the crew can input direct feedback on their sleep via an application on a tablet. Sleep is central to human health, so a better understanding of sleep in space provides a more comprehensive picture of human health in microgravity.

Preparing for the Moon

The International Space Station serves as a testing ground for technologies we plan to use on future Artemis missions to the Moon. The NASA A-HoSS investigation puts to the test tools planned for use on the crewed Artemis II mission that will orbit the Moon. Built as the primary radiation detection system for the Orion spacecraft, the Hybrid Electronic Radiation Assessor (HERA) was modified for operation on the space station. Verifying that HERA can operate without error for 30 days validates the system for crewed Artemis mission operations. A related investigation, ISS HERA, flew in 2019 aboard the space station. ISS HERA provided data and operational feedback in preparation for the Orion spacecraft’s uncrewed Artemis I mission that will launch in 2021.

First-Look Launch Photos

The following NASA photographs show the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket carrying the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus cargo spacecraft, which lifted off at 12:36:49 p.m. EST from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Space Port Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft aboard, launches from Pad-0A, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo resupply mission for 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. Photo Credit: (NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black)
Credit: (NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)
Credit: (NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)
Credit: (NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)
Credit: (NASA Wallops/Allison Stancil)
Credit: (NASA Wallops/Terry Zaperach)
Credit: (NASA Wallops/Terry Zaperach)
Credit: (NASA Wallops/Terry Zaperach)
Credit: (NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black)
Credit: (NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black)
Credit: (NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black)

Cygnus is on its way to the International Space Station with about 8,000 pounds of cargo.

More mission imagery on Flickr

Cygnus in Orbit; TV Coverage Wraps; Solar Array Deployment To Come

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket carrying the S.S. Katherine Johnson Cygnus cargo spacecraft lifted off at 12:36:49 p.m. EST from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Space Port Pad-0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft aboard, launches from Pad-0A, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Northrop Grumman’s 15th contracted cargo resupply mission for 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. Photo Credit: (NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility/Patrick Black)

Cygnus is on its way to the International Space Station with about 8,000 pounds of cargo.

Live launch coverage on NASA TV has wrapped. Commands will be given at about 3:20 p.m. EST to deploy the spacecraft’s solar arrays, which is expected to be complete shortly before 4 p.m.