WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The launch of the Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) has been cancelled for the second time, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said.
"A wind violation prompted the hold in the countdown," NASA said on its website on Friday.
The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket was initially scheduled to take Orbital ATK Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS at 5:55 p. m. EST (22:55 GMT) on Thursday. The launch was supposed to be carried out from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, but because of poor weather conditions it was rescheduled for Friday 5:33 p.m. EST (22:33 GMT).
NASA said on Thursday that there would be a 30 percent chance of acceptable weather conditions at launch time on Friday.
"We were all really looking forward to a good launch tonight, but the ground winds did not cooperate," Vern Thorp, ULA’s Program Manager for NASA missions said on Friday after the Cygnus launch was cancelled.
According to Thorp, there was a 30 minute window for the launch, which yields 5 opportunities for takeoff, but it was not enough because "the winds were just a couple of knots too high."
"The cargo is safe, the vehicle is safe and we are ready to try another day," Thorp said.
The delayed mission will be Orbital ATK’s fourth to the ISS under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract with the company. According to NASA, this will be the first flight of an "enhanced" Cygnus spacecraft, which has a higher payload capacity and new fuel tanks.
The improvements come after the October 2014 accident, when an Orbital ATK Antares rocker that was to deliver a Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS crashed six seconds after launch. Orbital ATK suspended deliveries to the ISS after the crash.