NASA scrubbed the launch of Kalpana Chawla Cygnus just minutes before it’s liftoff

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket’s launch was aborted just three minutes before it’s liftoff on Thursday. The rocket was carrying around 4 tons of NASA supplies for International Space Station.

The rocket experienced an automatic abort due to some unknown problem with a component of ground support equipment. The launch had been already delayed by 11 minutes due to a boat that had entered the keep-out zone around the rocket.

This is the second delay for Northrop’s rocket. The launch was originally supposed to happen on Tuesday. But, due to bad weather conditions, it was pushed back.

Kalpana Chawla is the inspiration behind the rocket’s name

The Cygnus NG-14 spacecraft has been named after the astronaut, Kalpana Chawla. She was the first woman of Indian Origin to go into space. She died alongside six other astronauts in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle accident.

Kalpana Chawla was born in Haryana, India. She later moved to the US to earn a master’s and a doctorate degree in Aerospace engineering. Kalpana applied for and became an astronaut at Nasa after she got her citizenship in the U.S. She was a member of “The Flying Escargot”, that was NASA’s 15th class of trainees. In 1997, she launched on STS-87, a 15-day shuttle mission. Her second spaceflight was STS-107, which unfortunately came to a tragic end on 1st Feb 2003.

It is Northrop Grumman’s tradition to name each Cygnus after individuals who have done a major role in human spaceflight. Northrop Grumman also stated that they were proud to celebrate the life and contributions of Kalpana Chawla.

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What it is carrying-

This Cygnus Cargo ship was carrying 3,458 kilograms worth supplies, foods, and experiment hardware for astronauts living on International Space Station. Some of those things are- a plant growth study that will help cultivate radishes in space. And a biological drug that could be used to cure leukemia. And also A 360-degree VR camera that will be used to film spacewalk. But the main item is a compact toilet for astronauts to use on deep space exploration missions. Also, if you want to know more about this toilet, which by the way costs $20 million read this article.

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