Orbital ATK's seventh cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station -in tribute to John Glenn- launched at 11:11 a.m. EDT April 18, 2017, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
As part of the mission, Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft was launched, along with more than 7,600lb of cargo, including food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts, laboratory equipment and scientific experiments. John Glenn became the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth after being launched on a heritage Atlas LV-3B rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida in 1962.
An unmanned Atlas rocket provided Tuesday's lift, just as it did for Glenn's space journey 55 years ago. Glenn passed away December 8, 2016.
Cygnus and its supplies will arrive at the ISS on Saturday.
Expedition 51 astronauts Thomas Pesquet of ESA (European Space Agency) and Peggy Whitson of NASA will use the space station's Canadian-built robotic arm to grapple Cygnus, about 6:05 a.m. Saturday.
After docking with the ISS Cygnus will stay in orbit for about three months. "We are also pleased that Cygnus will once again display its versatility as an in-orbit science platform for conducting experiments and payload operations for key customers. The video will continue through countdown and launch and until the rocket is out of sight". The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine, and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C engine.
While the minimum safe viewing distance is typically miles away from the launch pad, this livestream promises viewers a much closer look at a powerful rocket launch, or what NASA is calling a "pads-eye view".
Orbital ATK's composite structures and retro motors also supported today's launch of the ULA Atlas V rocket.
The resupply mission is a public-private partnership between NASA and United Launch Alliance, a joint venture owned by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. "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".
Tuesday's launch marked the first time NASA, in coordination with the ULA and Orbital ATK, has broadcast a rocket launch with a 360-degree view, which should "virtually place the public at the based of the rocket during launch".
"That is why we do this", Thorp said.