NASA drops SS Kalpana Chawla Cygnus launch to ISS

Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket launch to the International Space Station (ISS) was cleaned up at around 9:40 p.m. due to an unknown issue with a component of the ground support equipment.

The commercial cargo spacecraft, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus, was scheduled to take off Thursday night named after deceased NASA astronaut Kalpana “KC” Chawla, the first India-born woman to enter space, for her major contributions to human space flights.

“Tonight’s launch attempt for @ NorthropGrumman’s Antares rocket to send the #Cygnus supply vessel to the @Space_Station was cleared approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds before takeoff due to an unknown issue with a component of ground support equipment, ”tweeted NASA.

“We canceled tonight’s #Antares launch attempt after receiving non-nominal data from ground support equipment. Stay tuned for the time of the next launch attempt, ”Northern Grumman.

This marked the second total delay for Northrop Grumman’s final commercial resupply mission. The night launch has already been pushed back from its initial Tuesday night launch window due to weather conditions.

NASA has not yet detailed the specific reasons for the disruption, having had to delay the origin mark by 11 minutes due to a boat in the beach.

During mission NG-14, the SS Kalpana Chawla was expected to deliver approximately 3,630 kilograms of cargo to the station.

Flight research aboard the Cygnus includes testing a biologic drug that could be used for the treatment of leukemia, a study of the growth of plants that will grow radishes as a model for future crops in space, a compact toilet for astronauts to use in deep space exploration missions and a 360 degree virtual reality camera that will be used to film during a spacewalk for immersive film production.

Northrop Grumman, a U.S. global aerospace and defense technology company, said the mission is named after Chawla in memory of the mission specialist who died with his six teammates aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 Northrop Grumman said he was proud to celebrate the life of Kalpana Chawla and her dream of flying in the air and in space.

“It is the company’s tradition to name each Cygnus after an individual who has played a pivotal role in human spaceflight,” said Northrop Grumman.

While Chawla made the ultimate sacrifice in service of the space program, his legacy lives on. She not only inspired her colleagues, but also many others in India, to follow in her footsteps. His final research conducted aboard the Columbia helped understand the health and safety of astronauts during spaceflight.

Born in Haryana, India, Chawla moved to the United States to earn her masters and doctorates in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas in 1984 and the University of Colorado in 1988, respectively. She then began her career at NASA, conducting research in fluid dynamics at the Ames Research Center in California.

After becoming a naturalized US citizen, Chawla applied and became a NASA astronaut as a member of “The Flying Snail,” the 15th NASA trainee class. In 1997, she launched on STS-87, a 15-day science flight shuttle mission as part of the United States’ Fourth Microgravity Payload (USMP-4).

Chawla’s second space flight, STS-107, tragically ended on February 1, 2003, after 16 days of scientific research aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia.

A small piece of foam that hit the orbiter’s left wing during launch created a hole that was not detected during the mission. Upon Columbia’s return to Earth, hot plasma entered the wing, tearing it apart, and the resulting loss of control resulted in the vehicle disintegrating and the crew’s death.