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Northrup Grumman's Antares rocket launches Cygnus to the ISS

Early Saturday morning, Northrup Grumman's Antares rocket launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and carried the Cygnus spacecraft into orbit to rendezvous with the International Space Station. Liftoff occurred at 4:01am EST from Launch Pad 0A of Virginia Space's Mid-Atlantic Spaceport.

The NG-10 Cygnus Spacecraft is named after former astronaut John Young, who was NASA's longest serving astronaut and was a pioneer in human spaceflight while paving the way for humans living on the ISS. The spacecraft is carrying approximately 3,350kg (7,400lbs) of supplies and experiments to the ISS. Also on board the spacecraft are 3 cubists, which will be deployed after Cygnus is unberthed from the station.

Cygnus was launched on top of the Northrup Grumman Antares 230 rocket. This rocket configuration consists of a kerosene and liquid oxygen first stage powered by 2 Energomash RD-181 engines and a CASTOR 30XL solid motor second stage to power the spacecraft all the way into orbit. After spacecraft separation, Cygnus deploys its two UltraFlex solar arrays which unfold into a circle shape and uses the engine on the service module to maneuver to the ISS.

Photos: Ryan Bale // Spaceflight News

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