Cygnus CRS NG-13 (S.S. Robert Henry Lawrence Jr.) | Antares 230+

Lift Off Time

(Subject to change)
February 15th, 2020 – 20:21:01 UTC | 15:21:01 EST
Mission Name
NG-13, an orbital resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS)
Launch Provider
(What rocket company is launching it?)
Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems 
(Who’s paying for this?)
Antares 230+
Launch Location
Launch Area 0 A, Wallops Island, Virginia, USA
Payload mass
3,500–3,750 kg (7,720–8,270 pounds)
Where is the spacecraft going?
Low Earth Orbit (LEO) (Initially about 400 km) Rendezvousing with the International Space Station (ISS) 
Will they be attempting to recover the first stage?
No this is not a capability of Northrop Grumman 
Where will the first stage land?
It will crash into the ocean off the coast of Virginia, USA
Will they be attempting to recover the fairings?
No this is not a capability of Northrop Grumman 
Are these fairings new?
This will be the:
12th launch of an Antares rocket
7th launch of an Antares 230 series rocket
– 1st launch for Northrop Grumman this year
Where to watch
NASA Live stream

Maybe even more fun you can watch with Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut, starting at T minus 30! Come ask questions and join the conversation live!
Image by Geoff Barrett

What’s all this mean?

Cygnus is returning to the International Space Station! Very soon, the Antares 230+ rocket will leap off the pad on Wallops Island located in Virginia in the United States. One of the only rockets to launch from there, it will soon be joined by Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket! Our very own Everyday Astronaut had the opportunity to interview the CEO of Rocket Lab Peter Beck… on the launch pad!! See that video here: A conversation with Rocket Lab’s Peter Beck on recovering Electron

Sooo the “230+”… what exactly does that mean? It is essentially just naming the variation of the Antares rocket. Three variations have existed in the history of Antares including the Antares 100 series, the Antares 200 series, and finally the Antares 230+ series. As of now, the 100 and 200 series have been retired. The main difference is in the engine that propels the rocket. The 100 series used two Aerojet Aj26 engines. However, after concerns of wear and tear from aging, the 200 and 200+ series made the big change over to the more powerful modified RD-181 engines. The only difference next would be structural changes when Northrop Grumman switched to the 230 and 230+ series, both of which use the RD-181 engines.

blue sky rocket white fire engine Rd-181 cygnus northrop grumman orbital ATK
The Antares 230+ rocket in flight!

To learn more about rocket engines in general, consider watching Everyday Astronaut’s video about them: Is SpaceX’s Raptor engine the king of rocket engines? 

What about the payload?

The answer to this one is simple. This is a Commercial Resupply Service (CRS) mission which is also performed by SpaceX. Basically, NASA hires various launch providers to safely and quickly get the cargo they need to the ISS. So the Cygnus spacecraft developed by Northrop Grumman, will carry 3,500–3,750 kg (7,720–8,270 pounds) of payload to the ISS. It could include personal items for the astronauts, experiments and special hardware. Not to mention food that is crucial for the astronauts to stay healthy.

Keep an eye on this Prelaunch Preview and SpaceLaunchNow  for T-0 updates and more!

    1. The current and updated T-0 is set for February 13th, 2020 – 21:06:05 UTC (12:49:05 PM EST).

  1. Which direction is this launching? For the ISS, it should be northeast or southeast, which would determine whether or not I have any hope of seeing it from the SC area.

  2. I see a mistake on this page, It’s no longer Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems that provides Antares and Cygnus service since that division doesn’t exist anymore since Januari 1st. All space related projects of Northrop Grumman are now reorganized in Northrop Grumman Space Systems.

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