The last “Ukrainian” Antares successfully reached orbit

On the night of August 1-2, the American Antares rocket successfully launched into space. It launched the Cygnus spacecraft into orbit, which would deliver supplies to the ISS. This launch is the last for the carrier version, which uses the first stage built in Ukraine.

Launch of the Antares rocket

Antares successfully launched

The Antares rocket, built by Northrop Grumman, successfully launched from the Cosmodrome on Wallops Island. It happened at 3:31 a.m. GMT+3 on August 2 (in the USA, it was still the evening of August 1). According to NASA, the rocket successfully launched a payload into orbit.

This mission is called NG-19 and is part of the commercial service mission program that NASA is implementing together with several companies. The Cygnus cargo spacecraft is carrying 3,700 kg of various supplies and auxiliary materials to the space station. This time it got its own name, Laurel Clark, in honor of the US astronaut who died in the Columbia shuttle disaster.

Cygnus is expected to reach the station and dock with it on Friday, August 4. This will happen at 02:54 p.m. GMT+3 and it is expected that this event will be broadcast on the official NASA channel. In a sense, this mission will be an anniversary because Northrop Grumman has been sending cargo to the ISS for 10 years with the help of spacecraft of this type.

Last launch of the Ukrainian stage

However, for Ukraine, something else is more important in this mission. This is the latest Antares 230 series rocket. They used stages built at the Ukrainian enterprise “Southern Machine-Building Plant”, located in the Dnipro. Our country has been a reliable partner of Northrop Grumman for many years in launching these rockets, but Russia’s large-scale invasion has made production impossible.

Now Northrop Grumman is switching to the production of Antares 330 series rockets. They will use engines from Firefly Aerospace. Once, it was saved by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, but now it belongs to the Americans. However, the commissioning of these rockets is delayed.

As Kurt Eberly, Northrop Grumman’s director of space launches, said at a press conference on July 30, they had previously hoped to launch the first 330-series rocket at the end of 2024, but now they would obviously have to postpone its launch until the summer of 2025. 

What Cygnus will deliver to the ISS

In general, the Cygnus spacecraft will deliver equipment and materials for more than 20 experiments to the ISS. They will concern the field of materials science and sensors for monitoring the Earth. Astronauts will also study methods of treatment of cardiovascular regenerative diseases, neurological and genetic disorders and degenerative diseases of the retina.

In addition, the cargo spacecraft will bring equipment for the Saffire-VI experiment to the ISS. It is part of a series of demonstrations of how a flame behaves in zero gravity. This work is extremely important for the safety of the station.

According to

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