The launch that was scheduled for January 8th was delayed due to the massive solar flare that occurred on Tuesday. However, it has now launched a day later in an effort to get supplies to the crew at the space station.
Orbital Sciences Corp. said the launch is going just as planned.
“It was another excellent launch of Antares, and so far, our first CRS mission is off to a great start with Cygnus operating exactly as anticipated at this early stage of the mission,” said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our team has put in a lot of hard work to get to the point of performing regular ISS cargo delivery trips for NASA. It’s an exciting day for all of us and I’m looking forward to completing this and our future CRS missions safely and successfully for our NASA customer.”
The rocket lifted off into a brilliant blue sky from Wallops Island, Va., at 1:07 p.m. taking a capsule of supplies to the International Space Station, which included strangely enough, ants, for some kind of educational project. A webcast of the launch is available to view, as many reported seeing the rocket stream on Twitter.
— Mapbox (@Mapbox) January 9, 2014
Just saw a rocket launch on my way to get lunch. Pretty awesome.
— Bonnie Bogle (@bonnie) January 9, 2014
Although the original launch was scheduled for December, the space station repairs were not completed and took priority. The extreme cold weather also contributed to the delay.
The biggest delay of yesterday's plan to launch was the first major solar flare of the year. The solar storm released a flare that erupted from a sunspot that was seven times the size of Earth, and caused the mission a delay in fear of possible radiation problems.
Orbital Sciences' Cygnus cargo ship blasts off for International Space Station with gifts, ants: A privately-l... http://t.co/3iTuMMB39M
— Angelita (@industrialdeal) January 10, 2014
"Upon a deeper examination of the current space weather environment, Orbital's engineering team, in consultation with NASA, has determined that the risk to launch success is within acceptable limits established at the outset of the Antares program," Orbital officials announced late Wednesday.
Image via NASA, Space.com