Northrop Grumman scrubs CRS-13 launch attempt

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Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket sits on the launch pad at NASA Wallops Flight Facility in preparation for the launch of the S.S. Robert Henry Lawrence Jr. Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station for the NG-13 mission. (Northrop Grumman photograph)
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Northrop Grumman scrubbed the scheduled Feb. 9 Antares launch after off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor.

Northrop Grumman and NASA have set the next launch attempt to no earlier than Feb. 13 at 4:06 p.m., EST, due to an unfavorable weather forecast over the next two days, and time required to address the ground support issue.

NASA TV coverage of the launch will begin at 3:30 p.m. EST. Teams will refresh 24-hour late load cargo the day before. The Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft remain healthy. A Feb. 13 launch would result in a capture of Cygnus on Feb. 15.

For the NG-13 mission, Cygnus will carry approximately 7,500 pounds of cargo for the crew aboard the station. This marks the second time two Cygnus spacecraft will be in flight at the same time as the NG-12 vehicle, which remains in orbit after departing from the station on Jan. 31.

“Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft has undergone a number of upgrades throughout our 13 missions,” said Frank DeMauro, vice president and general manager, tactical space systems, Northrop Grumman.
“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.”

Once Cygnus is grappled to the International Space Station, the spacecraft will remain attached for approximately three months before departing with up to 8,200 pounds of cargo for disposal.

On this mission, Cygnus will once again host the Spacecraft Fire Safety Experiment – IV (Saffire-IV) providing an environment to safely study fire in microgravity. The Saffire experiment, designed by the NASA’s Glenn Research Center, has flown on three previous Cygnus missions. NG-13 will also support CubeSat deployments via SEOPS SlingShot deployer and a SEOPS hosted payload. This underscores how the Cygnus spacecraft continues to serve scientific needs and commercial business in low-Earth orbit through the second phase of its resupply missions to the space station.

Northrop Grumman names each Cygnus spacecraft in honor of individuals who have significantly contributed to the United States’ commercial space program. For the NG-13 mission, the company commemorates astronaut Maj. Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the nation’s first African American astronaut. In 1967, the U.S. Air Force selected Lawrence as an astronaut for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory program. Although his career was cut short in a tragic accident, he paved the way for future aerospace pioneers and highlighted the need for diversity and inclusion across the industry.

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