Stray plane delays rocket launch to International Space Station

Credit NASA  Bill Ingalls

NASA has postponed the launch of Orbital ATK's Antares rocket.

The mission is the eighth for Orbital ATK, which has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA to resupply the space station over several years.

Lift-off was set for 7:37 Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on the Eastern Shore. Live launch coverage will begin at 7 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency's website.

The Cygnus spacecraft is an American automated cargo spacecraft developed by Orbital ATK as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) developmental program.

The culprit, a small personal aircraft that entered the restricted airspace was within a 6 miles (10 kilometers) offshore flying at an altitude of about 500 feet, which could have been unsafe for the lift-off. But at the last minute, a plane flew into the restricted airspace at Wallops Island. "We are now de-tanking and will be ready to go tomorrow morning". The launch has been rescheduled for Sunday, November 12 at 7:14 a.m.

The Antares rocket will be carrying a Cygnus spacecraft, which will deliver 7,000 pounds of food, clothing, science experiments and other supplies to the ISS.

The cargo will help researchers conduct studies on how space's microgravity affects the E.coli bacteria's resistance to antibiotics.

The Antares rocket clears the launch pad on its way to orbit from Wallops Island, Va., on April 21, 2013.



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