Orbital ATK aborts rocket launch

OA-6/Atlas V being rolled out to Pad 41 for launch.

Around 2,000 spectators gathered at the visitor center here in NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to view the launch in freezing-cold temperatures, some arrived more than four hours prior to the stipulated time so as to secure the best viewing position and have a feel of their sight.

When flight controllers announced that today’s launch would not continue, the crowd of shivering and baffled onlookers packed up their chairs and blankets and left. Young children cried as their parents had to explain why they would not get to see a launch today. While some attendees said they planned to return tomorrow for another launch attempt, others who had traveled from out of state said they could not afford the luxury of sticking around an extra day.

A plane? Seriously? I drove six hours just to watch a plane fly over the launchpad,” said Michael Vargas, my husband, who had driven to Wallops from Brooklyn, New York overnight to see what he hoped would be his first rocket launch. “I have to head back today to grade school papers, so I can’t stick around to see it tomorrow. What a bummer.”

Another couple from Washington, D.C., Paul and Amy, had driven down here with their middle school-aged children and told Space.com that they planned to stick around for tomorrow’s launch attempt. They said that this would be their first launch since NASA’s space shuttle days. For their children, this will be their first experience seeing a rocket launch.

Antares will launch a Cygnus cargo craft to the International Space Station to deliver more than 7,700 lbs. (3,500 kilograms) of food, supplies and science experiments to the Expedition 53 crew. If the mission had launched according to plan today, Cygnus would be arriving at the space station early Monday morning (Nov. 13). But with today’s launch being scrubbed, it will arrive no earlier than Tuesday (Nov. 14).