The spacecraft was scheduled for taking off on February 9th from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A located on the Wallops Island, Virginia, at NASA‘s Wallops Flight Facility. As per NASA, the launch was postponed after the engineers discovered ‘off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor.’
The Antares rocket was packed with a disposable Cygnus capsule, which was set to transport 3,400 kilograms of payload for the astronauts based at the space station. The rocket, also built by Northrop Grumman, was set to launch at 5.44 p.m. EST (22:44 GMT).
Northrop Grumman vice-president and general manager for tactical space systems Frank DeMauro said: “Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft has undergone a number of upgrades throughout our 13 missions. We continue to offer Nasa and our commercial customers a reliable spacecraft that not only delivers vital cargo but is also a fully functioning science laboratory in space and has now demonstrated its ability to perform long-duration in-orbit operations.”
Northrop Grumman Carried Out 12th Missions For NASA So Far
NASA flight controllers based at the space agency’s Mission Control Center have let the station’s current Expedition 62 members know about the glitch and delay. The crew includes American astronauts Jessica Meir, Andrew Morgan, and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Scripochka.
Known as NG-13, this is Northrop Grumman’s 13th payload expedition for NASA and the second project under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract. Considering the unfavorable weather forecast for those following days, as well as the time needed to fix the ground support error, the two companies have decided to attempt another launch sometime after February 13th, respectively, at 4.05 p.m. EST (21:05GMT) if the weather permits.
Back in November 2019, Northrop Grumman launched the 12th Cygnus cargo expedition to the International Space Station for the American space agency.