OA-8 Launch Blog Kicks Off; Antares Rolls to the Pad

Orbital ATK will launch its Cygnus spacecraft into orbit to the International Space Station, targeted for 7:37 a.m EST Nov. 11, 2017, from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Cygnus will launch on an Antares rocket carrying crew supplies, equipment and scientific research to crewmembers aboard the station. The spacecraft, named the S.S. Gene Cernan after former NASA astronaut Eugene “Gene” Cernan, who is the last person to have walked on the moon, will deliver scientific investigations including those that will study communication and navigation, microbiology, animal biology and plant biology. Live NASA TV coverage will begin at 7 a.m. EST on Nov. 11.

Antares Rocket
The Orbital ATK Antares rolled out to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad 0A this morning, Nov. 9, 2017, in preparation for launch at 7:37 a.m. EST, Saturday, Nov. 11, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Antares will carry the company’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft with more than 7,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. The T-48 hour forecast shows a 95 percent probability of acceptable weather for a launch on Nov. 11. Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach

Aside from the unseasonable cold temperatures, weather conditions look excellent (95 percent favorable) for Saturday’s launch attempt with no real concerns at this time, according to the latest forecast for the launch range.

A strong cold front will move through the Wallops Region Friday morning, ushering in the coldest airmass of the season. Gusty northwesterly winds will accompany the frontal passage on Friday, with winds possibly gusting as high as 30-35 mph. A broad area of Canadian high pressure will quickly build in behind the front, centering over the Great Lakes Region and ridging south toward the Wallops Region for Saturday morning’s launch. This will bring mostly clear and cold conditions for Saturday morning, with temperatures expected to bottom out in the mid to upper 20s.

Launch Visibility Map for OA-8
This map shows the visibility of the upcoming launch of Orbital ATK’s CRS-8 mission from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, with numeric values indicating the time (in seconds) after liftoff the Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft may be visible.

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