Space station supply ship at launch pad honors John Glenn


It's launch day for a United Launch Alliance mission named after John Glenn, an astronaut and former USA senator who once rode into space on a predecessor of the rocket that launches today.

The broadcast of the launch is in coordination with United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Orbital ATK.

Orbital ATK's Cygnus spacecraft launched atop a ULA Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

"We have a wide range of support equipment that's going to be headed to station to support the science that's up there already, but also to introduce brand new capabilities", noted Tara Ruttley, associate scientist for the ISS program, during a prelaunch news conference at Kennedy Space Center.

The cargo launch had been planned for last month, but ULA, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, delayed the mission due to an issue with the Atlas rocket's hydraulic system.

The barrel-shaped Cygnus spacecraft, nestled atop a white Atlas V rocket, soared into the blue sky over Cape Canaveral, Florida at 11:11 am (1511 GMT).

Mission Description: Orbital ATK developed the Cygnus advanced maneuvering spacecraft to perform ISS cargo delivery missions under the Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) contract with NASA.

More news: Cristiano Ronaldo reaches milestone but says Champions League tie remains open

The commercial cargo ship, dubbed the S.S. John Glenn, holds almost 7,700 pounds (3,500 kilograms) of food, equipment and research for the International Space Station.

The four fisheye-lens cameras are located at the periphery of the pad, about 300 feet from the rocket. "Nearby, a computer protected by a blast-proof box will stitch images together in near-real time".

The time slot for launch was no more than 30 minutes.

Glenn became the first American to orbit the world in 1962 - launching on an Atlas rocket - and the oldest person to fly in space in 1998 aboard the shuttle Discovery. He died at age 95 in December.

This launch was supposed to happen in March, but a leak caused the flight to be grounded.

The S.S. John Glenn is ready for its close-up.