International Space Station resupply mission launched from Wallops Island
Rescheduled three times, craft is set to deliver 8,000 pounds of cargo.
The 13th cargo resupply mission (NG-13) took off Saturday afternoon from Wallops Island in Accomack County to the International Space Station (ISS). The spacecraft will deliver more than 8,000 pounds of cargo to the space station, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Falls Church-based defense contractor Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems worked together on the NG-13 project, which launched from Virginia Spaces Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A on Wallops Island at 3:13 p.m. Saturday, after being postponed three times. It’s expected to arrive at the space station Tuesday.
The spacecraft is named after U.S. Air Force Maj. Robert H. Lawrence Jr., who was the first African-American astronaut. He served as an officer and pilot, trained other pilots and earned the Commendation Medal and the Outstanding Unit Citation honors. He died in 1967 at the age of 32 in an air crash, before his team went on to fly the Space Shuttle.
“Today’s launch is delivering equipment to the International Space Station, where astronauts are advancing scientific understanding,” Northam said in a statement. “This important mission honors the legacy of Maj. Robert Lawrence, who dedicated his career to advancing science through flight.”
The state built the MARS Pad 0A to accommodate the Cygnus spacecraft, which is being used to carry more than 8,000 pounds of payload to the ISS including supplies and vehicle hardware for the orbital laboratory and its crew. The aircraft will be attached to ISS for approximately three months. This is the second mission under Northrop Grumman’s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract with NASA. Northrop Grumman will fly at least six missions to the ISS through 2024.
“Virginia Space continues to provide reliable ground support systems and personnel through maintenance and operation of MARS Pad 0A, the homeport of the Antares rocket,” Dale Nash, executive director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, said in a statement. “The strong and strategic public-public-private partnership of Virginia Space, NASA Goddard’s Wallops Flight Facility and Northrop Grumman is a unique collaboration that contributes to ongoing mission success.”
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority is a political subdivision of the state. It owns and operates the MARS Spaceport, the MARS Payload Processing Facility and the MARS Unmanned Systems Test Range — all of which are located on the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Accomack County.