A Cygnus 5 pressurized module is seen sitting in NASA's space station processing facility

Bad weather causes ISS cargo rocket launch delay

A rocket launch to supply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) by American aerospace manufacturer Orbital ATK has been pushed back due to adverse weather conditions.

An Orbital Cygnus spacecraft, perched atop an Atlas 5 rocket from United Launch Alliance (ULA), which is a joint venture between, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, had been due to take off at 5:55p.m. EST.

However, poor weather including rain and cloudy skies at the seaside Florida launch site forced ULA to postpone the launch.

The Cygnus is due to carry more than 3,500kg of food, clothing, supplies and science experiments to the space station, including a prototype satellite astronauts will put together like a Lego kit.

Also aboard are two Microsoft HoloLens headsets, which will provide station crew - and onlookers in ground control centers - with digitally enhanced images of whatever the astronauts are looking at.

The company has previously completed two flights under its original $1.9bn (£1.2bn) NASA contract, delivering about 3,800kg of a promised 20,000kg of supplies

However, in October last year, a rocket to supply the ISS from Orbital Sciences was destroyed in a launch explosion. Orbital Sciences later formed part of Orbital ATK following a merger with Alliant Techsystems earlier this year.

The explosion of the Antares rocket resulted in the loss of more than 2,000kg of supplies and scientific experiments including a demonstration satellite for surveying asteroids.

Investigators blamed the botched launch on a defective turbopump in one of Antares' two main engines which was a refurbished Soviet-era motor constructed by Aerojet.

Exactly what went wrong remains a matter of debate, but Aerojet paid Orbital $50m to settle the dispute and the companies ended their collaboration.

Orbital later accelerated plans to outfit Antares with new engines and purchased two Atlas rocket rides to fly Cygnus capsules to the station in the meantime.

The company expects to start using its own Antares rocket again in May 2016.

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