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article imagePoor weather delays US space cargo launch to Saturday

By AFP     Nov 15, 2018 in World

Windy weather pushed back until Saturday the planned launch of a US cargo ship loaded with supplies for astronauts living at the International Space Station, NASA said Thursday.

The delay to 4:01 am (0901 GMT) on November 17 from Wallops Island, Virginia marks the second time launch managers have postponed the mission from its initial flight plan of Thursday.

"The teams decided to wait another day for launch after assessing continuing unfavorable weather conditions, including high winds and high seas, forecast for Friday morning," said a statement from Northrop Grumman, which operates the Antares rocket.

"The forecast for a launch Saturday is significantly improved with a less than five percent chance of weather conditions preventing a launch."

An unmanned Russian Progress supply ship is also scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1814 GMT on Friday.

The Russian ship is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting outpost Sunday.

A NASA spokeswoman told AFP the Cygnus -- bearing 7,400 pounds (3,350 kilograms) of supplies -- will follow at 5:20 am (0920 GMT) Monday.

They mark the first cargo missions to ISS since a Soyuz rocket carrying three people bound for the space station failed on October 11 just minutes after blast-off -- the first such incident in the history of post-Soviet space travel.

The astronauts on board were not hurt. Russia has since blamed the problem on a sensor that was damaged during assembly at the Baikonur cosmodrome.

And Russia has already marked a successful return to flight with its Soyuz rocket on October 25, launching a satellite for the Russian military.

Three astronauts -- one German, one Russian and one American -- are currently living at the space station, which has been continually inhabited since 2000.

The next Soyuz launch with astronauts on board -- one Russian, one Canadian and one American -- is planned for December 3.

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