"Liftoff of the Atlas V rocket with Cygnus and the S.S. John Glenn, extending the research legacy for living and working in space", a NASA TV commentator said during a live broadcast. The ship will be launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 11.11 am EDT.
Finally, congratulations to NASA, ULA and Orbital ATK for their shared teamwork in commemorating a champion of human spaceflight through the S.S. John Glenn.
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.
After Cygnus reaches the space station, astronauts will unpack and reload it with trash that will burn up along with the spacecraft when it re-enters in the Earth's atmosphere.
Orbital ATK normally launches Cygnus cargo ships atop its own Antares rocket, but in the wake of a 2014 launch failure, the company bought two Atlas 5s from ULA to launch two resupply missions while the Antares was being equipped with new engines. Cygnus is used to carry crew supplies, spare equipment and scientific experiments to the ISS.
"Looks like we nailed the orbit once again", said Vern Thorp, a manager for the rocket maker.
"We are carrying more this time than we have in the past and that's a good step forward for us and for the crew", Frank Culbertson, president of Orbital ATK's Space Systems Group, told reporters during a pre-launch news conference. For most viewers, the rocket seemed to disappear - one moment it was sitting on the pad, with the stream buffering; the next, there was an empty rocket-shaped hole on the pad and in our hearts. "The video will continue through countdown and launch and until the rocket is out of sight".
Mission Control beamed up the launch broadcast for the three astronauts at the space station, which is orbiting 250 miles (about 400 kilometers) high.
SpaceX and Boeing are developing new capsules that could fly USA astronauts to the space station as early as next year.
The NGL vehicles will operate from both east and west coast launch facilities and will share common propulsion, structures and avionics systems with other company programs, including its smaller space launch vehicles as well as missile defense interceptors, target vehicles and strategic missile systems.
"Live 360º is an emerging technology", the US space agency said in a statement.
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White House denies misleading public on carrier destination
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