DEC 02, 2015 09:48 AM PST

Here's Why Tomorrow's ISS Resupply Launch is So Important

The last few years have been full of disappointing attempts to launch supply rockets to the International Space Station. Although there have been some unsuccessful attempts that have cost companies millions of dollars in losses, there have also been many good launches. The most recent was the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch this Summer, which exploded shortly after take-off and large debris from it were recently recovered in the ocean near the United Kingdom.
 
But SpaceX isn’t the only U.S.-based company in the space race. There are also others like Boeing, Orbital ATK, and Sierra Nevada that are hoping to get contracts with NASA to continue space exploration and to continue providing our astronauts with the supplies they need to keep experimenting and learning more about our solar system and its existence.
 
Thursday, December 3rd, which is tomorrow, Orbital ATK will be launching its un-manned Cygnus spacecraft at 5:55:45 P.M. Eastern Time using an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Florida that is full of supplies intended to re-supply the International Space Station.
 

An artist's rendition of the spacecraft resupplying the International Space Station.


Although the launch is just another of many that have succeeded in the past, it’s a very important launch, because as NASA considers what companies it will partner with for future missions, both manned and un-manned, displaying reliability is among one of the most important factors that will move NASA to sign a contract.
 
Orbital ATK, like SpaceX, also had one of its rockets blow up in 2014. So currently, SpaceX and Orbital ATK are on similar playing fields. Both companies have demonstrated failure at one point or another, but both companies have also built good rockets. So the decision will be tough for NASA, and additional demonstration will help with that decision.
 
Because of these companies’ somewhat sketchy track record, NASA has been using the Russian Soyuz for a lot of its astronaut delivery missions to and from the International Space Station. The Soyuz has proven to be a very reliable way of getting astronauts there and back. But the idea here in working with these space companies is to bring that action home, back to the United States where we can be less dependent on other nations.

Source: NASA

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUN 03, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 03, 2018
Three Space Men Return Home From International Space Station
Three space men from the International Space Station returned to Earth on Sunday after spending five months floating around in microgravity. Image Credit:&...
JUN 17, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUN 17, 2018
Astronaut Peggy Whitson Retires From NASA
Renowned NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson retired from the American space agency on Friday, just nine months after returning to Earth from the International Sp...
JUN 20, 2018
Videos
JUN 20, 2018
Is it Too Dangerous to Send Humans to Mars?
As it turns out, we have it pretty good on Earth; the planet’s magnetic field keeps us safe from most forms of harmful cosmic radiation that can dama...
JUN 28, 2018
Microbiology
JUN 28, 2018
Stopping Bacterial Spores From Getting Into Space
Researchers want to stop the contamination of extraterrestrial environments by earthly bacteria....
JUL 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 11, 2018
How Will Astronauts Handle Trash During Deep Space Missions?
One of NASA’s long-term goals is to send humankind into deep space to explore other parts of the solar system; this includes, but isn’t limited...
JUL 23, 2018
Space & Astronomy
JUL 23, 2018
Earth is Pretty Small Compared to Everything Else in Space
To you and I, the Earth might seem like a large place. But in astronomical terms, our planet is actually quite small. Comparatively, the gas giant planets...
Loading Comments...