The Orbital Cygnus Antares rocket in October 2014 before it exploded NASA, Getty Images

Poor Weather Postpones Orbital Cargo Launch

Rain and clouds push back Orbital's first International Space Station launch in more than a year, with another attempt scheduled for Friday afternoon.

MIAMI — Rainy weather and thick clouds over Florida on Thursday forced Orbital ATK to postpone the planned launch of its Cygnus cargo craft toward the International Space Station, NASA said.

The next attempt at launch will come on Friday at 5:33 p.m. local time (2133 GMT), with the opening of a 30-minute launch window. However, the weather forecast for Friday is only 30% favorable for takeoff.

The mission is Orbital ATK’s first space launch since its Antares rocket exploded in October 2014 just seconds after liftoff, destroying the cargo craft and its thousands of pounds of supplies bound for the astronauts living at the orbiting International Space Station.

This time, Orbital ATK is using United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket for the launch, while it upgrades its Antares rocket, which failed due to a problem with its reconditioned Ukrainian engine.

The cargo ship is packed with more supplies than a Cygnus has ever carried, amounting to some 7,300 pounds, company officials said.

Sophisticated science experiments, ready-made food, a jet pack for spacewalking astronauts and even a satellite made by elementary school students are all on board.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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