A Part-Ukrainian Rocket Heading for Space Station
Photo from nasa.gov
The Cygnus, which looks a bit like a large tin can and is used for transporting cargo, got a lift aboard the jointly-made American and Ukrainian-made Antares rocket yesterday.
It took off from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia in the wee hours of the morning, but close to noon in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Ukraine’s unique contribution to the Antares was the lower part of it. That was designed by the Dnipro-based Pivdenne Design Bureau and made by Ukraine’s Southern Machine-Building Plant.
In its early development, Antares was also called “Taurus II,” which some people still know it as. The Antares is the largest rocket that the American-based Orbital ATK company, which did the launch, has in its repertoire.
The Cygnus cargo ship that the Antares is carrying is delivering between 3-to-4 tons of cargo to the International Space Station. It’s the ninth cargo mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract.
NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Ricky Arnold will be using the space station’s robotic arm to grab Cygnus when it arrives on Thursday.