Space station supply ship at launch pad honors John Glenn

By NASA  Tony Gray via Wikimedia Commons

Running a month late because of hydraulic problems and scheduling conflicts, the booster's Russian-built RD-180 main engine thundered to life at 11:11 a.m. EDT (GMT-4), throttled up to full thrust and quickly pushed the United Launch Alliance rocket away from complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

Giving the public an unusual "virtual" view of the flight, NASA, working with ULA and Orbital, will provide a video stream on YouTube using a 360-degree camera system starting 10 minutes before liftoff (https://www.youtube.com/user/NASAtelevision).

"It's great, I mean, to be able to get in there and experience that 360-degree view", said Vern Thorp, a program manager for rocket maker United Launch Alliance, ahead of the launch.

Today's launch is particularly special for Orbital ATK since it honors astronaut John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, who died in December at the age of 95. Designed by the NASA Glenn Research Center, the results from the Saffire-III experiment will enable NASA to develop technologies to reduce crew risk and make deep space exploration safer for astronauts.

"Liftoff of the Atlas V rocket with Cygnus and the S.S. John Glenn, extending the research legacy for living and working in space", said USA space agency commentator George Diller. Anyone with access to NASA TV and the Internet can watch the world's first live 360-degree rocket launch video anywhere in the world.

The cargo ship is operated by Orbital ATK, and is the company's seventh mission to space as part of a $1.9 billion contract with NASA to ferry supplies to the orbiting outpost. The launch is scheduled for 11:11 a.m. local time on Tuesday.

Flags half mast for PC Palmer
Palmer's coffin lay overnight in a chapel at Parliament after special permission was granted by Queen Elizabeth II. Police officers listen to a broadcast from Southwark Cathedral of the funeral today, leaving many in tears.

ULA will launch its next Atlas V rocket August 3, 2017, from the same pad.

However, live 360-degree video is a brand new technology.

Orbital ATK Cygnus OA-7 spacecraft named the SS John Glenn for Original 7 Mercury astronaut and Sen.

John Glenn's trailblazing legacy took flight Tuesday as a cargo ship bearing his name rocketed toward the International Space Station. So far, weather is looking good for launch; there's a 90 percent chance that conditions will be favorable, according to Patrick Military Air Force Base. The Antares is planned for this year which will be propelling the next Cygnus mission.

Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft will be launched on April 18, 2017, to resupply the International Space Station.

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