A commercial cargo spaceship was poised to make a gorgeous nighttime liftoff on Monday, visible to millions of people along America's East Coast. But then a boat got in the way.
The unexpected presence of a boat downrange of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia forced launch controllers to scrub Monday's planned liftoff of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, which was set to send a robotic Cygnus spacecraft on a resupply run to the International Space Station.
The nighttime rocket launch is now set for Tuesday at 6:22 p.m. ET. Weather permitting, the launch could be seen by observers along the East Coast, as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as South Carolina, NASA officials said. [How to See the Nighttime Antares Rocket Launch]
You can watch a webcast of the launch live beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, courtesy of NASA.
Mission controllers tried repeatedly to contact the wayward boat, but they couldn't get it to move in time.
"This was strictly a range issue this evening that terminated the count just 10 minutes before the scheduled liftoff time at the end of a 10-minute window," NASA commentator Rob Navias said during a webcast of the attempted launch.
Cygnus is set to deliver 5,000 pounds (2,268 kilograms) of food, supplies and scientific experiments to the astronauts aboard the station. Virginia-based Orbital Sciences holds a $1.9 billion deal with NASA to make eight such supply runs and has already completed two of them.
- Gallery: The Cygnus Spaceship and Antares Rocket
- Infographic: Antares and Cygnus Explained
- Orbital Sciences' Antares Rocket: 5 Surprising Facts