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
NOV 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 27, 2018
ESA Announces Official Launch Timeframe for Exoplanet-Characterizing CHEOPS Satellite
When you think about exoplanet research, NASA’s now-retired Kepler Space Telescope comes to mind. Kepler did a lot of the heavy lifting concerning ex...
DEC 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 05, 2018
SpaceX Launches International Space Station Resupply Mission
On Wednesday, Elon Musk-owned SpaceX launched its 20th rocket of 2018 to send a fresh batch of supplies to the International Space Station. The rocket blas...
DEC 23, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 23, 2018
NASA's InSight Lander Deploys Marsquake Detection Instrument
NASA’s InSight lander touched down on the Martian surface less than a month ago, and it’s already gearing up for scientific data collection and...
DEC 30, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 30, 2018
Are Some Super-Earth Exoplanets Rich in Rubies and Sapphires?
Astronomers are always peeking through the lenses of their fancy space telescopes to learn more about the universe around us. One thing that captivates the...
FEB 03, 2019
Space & Astronomy
FEB 03, 2019
Astronomers Baffled Over Earth-Orbiting 'Empty Trash Bag'-like Object
There’s no shortage of space junk encircling our planet, but one piece in particular first spotted by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert Syst...
FEB 11, 2019
Space & Astronomy
FEB 11, 2019
NASA Tightening MAVEN's Orbit Around Mars in Preparation for Mars 2020 Rover
NASA launched its Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission back in November of 2013 with the intent of studying Mars’ upper atmosphere,...
Loading Comments...