Antares on the launch pad. (Credit: NASA webcast)
Ground sensors leave rockets stuck on Earth
by Douglas MessierManaging Editor
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — A Northrop Grumman rocket carrying supplies for astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) failed to get off the launch pad in Virginia on Thursday evening, marking the third scrubbed American launch in less than 24 hours.
A computer called an automatic halt to the launch of the Antares booster at 2 minutes 40 seconds before the planned liftoff at 9:43 p.m. EDT. The rocket is carrying a Cygnus resupply ship with cargo bound for ISS.
Northrop Grumman tweeted that a problem with ground support equipment caused a hold in the countdown. Controllers were at the very end of a five-minute launch window at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va.
Northrop Grumman said it would attempt a 24-hour turn around for another launch attempt on Friday at 9:16 p.m. EDT. If the launch attempt is made, NASA will begin live coverage at www.nasa.gov beginning at 8:45 p.m. EDT.
Earlier in the day, SpaceX scrubbed the launch of 60 Starlink broadband satellites from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida due to an “out of family ground ...