The 15th Northrop Grumman mission to resupply the International Space Station (ISS) will be launching today, as a rocket packed with science instruments and named after celebrated mathematician Katherine Johnson takes off from Virginia.
We’ve got all the details on how to watch the launch live.
The launch is scheduled to take place at 12:36 p.m. ET (9:36 a.m. PT on Saturday, February 20. A Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft will be launched on an Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
The launch will be livestreamed on NASA TV, which you can watch either on NASA’s website or using the embedded video above. Coverage of the launch begins at 12 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT).
The craft will travel to the ISS over the rest of the weekend and is scheduled to arrive at the space station at 4:40 a.m. ET (1:40 a.m. PT) on Monday, February 22. You can also tune into NASA TV to watch the ISS astronauts capture the supply ship and install it onto the Unity module. Coverage of the ship’s arrival and docking begins at 3 a.m. ET (midnight PT) on Monday morning.
The Cygnus spacecraft being used for this launch has been named in honor of space pioneer Katherine Johnson for Black History Month.
Johnson, whose life and work was portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures, was a Black woman who started work as a “computer” at NASA in the 1950s, performing complex mathematical calculations by hand and joining the agency at a time when it was dominated by white men.
Her calculations were instrumental in the first flights to the moon and she had a long and distinguished career, working at NASA for over 30 years.
The craft is packed with 8,000 pounds of scientific research equipment an supplies for the ISS crew.
Some of the research it will carry includes a computer system for study which could increase data processing speeds on the station, an experiment into creating artificial retinas which could one day restore vision to people with retinal degenerative diseases, and an experiment into how the muscle strength of worms changes in space, to understand more about human muscle loss in zero gravity and how to keep astronauts healthy on long space missions.
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