ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff

Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition

Orbital Sciences was forced to scrub the launch of a Cygnus cargo-craft to the International Space Station yesterday when a sailboat wandered into the area.

The Antares rocket was scheduled to blast off at 6.45pm EDT (10.45pm GMT), but had to abort when the boat couldn’t get out of the restricted area in time for the 10-minute launch window. The boat was a safety violation because it was down-range in the trajectory that the Antares would have flown if it lifted off.

Orbital is going to try again to get the Cygnus off the ground today at 6.22pm EDT (10.22pm GMT), when it says weather conditions will be 95 per cent favourable for the launch.

Cygnus will transport around 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the ISS and is still due to arrive at the station on 2 November, despite the delay, as long as it gets going today.

The mission is the fifth launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket in its first 18 months of operations and the fourth cargo delivery to ISS by a Cygnus spacecraft. ®


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