Bad weather delays launch of US cargo ship to ISS

Washington, Dec 5 (IANS) Bad weather has forced the US space agency NASA to delay the launch of a commercial cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS) for the second time.

The lift-off of Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Friday was postponed “because of wind gusts that exceeded the weather criteria for launching,” Xinhua quoted NASA as saying in a launch blog.

Cygnus was originally scheduled to blast off on Thursday, but the mission was called off at the last minute due to thick clouds.

The new launch time is Saturday at 5.10 p.m. (local time). NASA said there is a 30 percent chance of favourable weather for Saturday’s launch.

Orbital ATK is one of the two commercial companies hired by NASA after the space shuttles were retired to fly cargo to the ISS.

Its third cargo mission using the company’s own Antares rocket was destroyed in a launch explosion in October last year.

The other company, SpaceX, was recovering from a similar launch explosion in June this year as well.

This time, the Cygnus spacecraft will deliver about 3,500 kgs of cargo, including food and Christmas gifts, to the space station.

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