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Rocket launching with cargo for International Space Station

April 17, 2019 / WILLIAM HARWOOD

After loading last-minute cargo and biological samples, including 40 mice, Northrop Grumman engineers readied an Antares rocket and Cygnus supply ship for launch from Virginia's Eastern Shore Wednesday on a two-day flight to the International Space Station, the second of three planned resupply runs in less than a month.Liftoff from pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport  MARS  at NASA's Wallops Island, Virginia, test facility was targeted for 4:46 p.m. EDT, the moment Earth's rotation carries the pad into the plane of the station's orbit  a requirement for rendezvous missions.If all goes well, the Antares 230 rocket, powered by two Russian RD-181 first stage engines and a Northrop Grumman solid-propellant upper stage, will release the Cygnus cargo ship into a preliminary orbit about nine minutes after liftoff. The spacecraft then will deploy its two solar wings and set off after its quarry.