NASA Cygnus spacecraft SS Kalpana Chawla

NASA unmanned Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft dubbed the SS Kalpana Chawla is scheduled for liftoff at 9:38 p.m. EDT Thursday, Oct. 1, from their Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

If weather conditions permit, the rocket will be visible in Washington, D.C., 90 seconds after launch and in New York City 150 seconds after liftoff, according to NASA.

NASA Cygnus spacecraft flight path

If all goes as it should, the launch will be the 14th mission to resupply the International Space Station.

Live coverage of the launch will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, with prelaunch events starting Monday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Oct. 1.

​When not showing live news coverage, NASA TV airs a variety of programming. Viewers may see views of the Earth from the International Space Station; replays of mission operations or news conferences; or episodes of produced programs.

Loaded with nearly 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch on the company’s Antares rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

The launch, which was pushed back from Tuesday because of unfavorable weather, will take place no earlier than 9:38 p.m. EDT on Thursday, according to the space agency.

SS Kalpana Chawla

NASA christened the spacecraft the SS Kalpana Chawla, after mission specialist Kalpana Chawla, the first Indian-born woman in space who tragically died in January 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia (STS-107) broke up while reentering the atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

The tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia killed seven astronauts. One of those, Kalpana Chawla, was the first Indian-born woman in space.
The tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia killed seven astronauts. One of those, Kalpana Chawla, was the first Indian-born woman in space.

The Cygnus spacecraft will arrive at the space station Sunday, Oct. 4. loaded with nearly 8,000 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware. Space.com reports that a new space toilet is among the items being transported to the space station.

Cygnus will leave the space station in mid-December. “Following departure, the Saffire-V experiment will be conducted prior to Cygnus deorbit and disposing of several tons of trash during a fiery re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere approximately two weeks later,” NASA said in its statement.

NASA Coverage of Cygnus launch activities is as follows (all times Eastern):

Thursday, Oct. 1

    • 9 p.m. – Launch coverage begins

Sunday, Oct. 4

    • 4:30 a.m. – Rendezvous coverage begins
    • 6:10 a.m. – Capture of Cygnus with the space station’s robotic arm
    • 8:30 a.m. – Cygnus installation operations coverage