The US space agency and its partner Orbital ATK have postponed the launch of the companys next US cargo supply trip to the International Space Station until Sunday due to Hurricane Nicole. As the agency prepares for tropical storm Nicole at its tracking site in Bermuda.
Initially set for Thursday, Orbital ATK will now launch its unmanned Cygnus cargo ship no earlier than Sunday from Wallops Island, Virginia, the US space agency said on Tuesday.
The US cargo supply trip was earlier scheduled for launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on October 13.
Cygnus will carry approximately 2,313 kg of cargo, including crew supplies and vehicle hardware, to the orbiting laboratory to support dozens of science and research investigations, NASA said.
Tropical Storm Nicole is expected to reach Bermuda as a hurricane on October 13.
“The tracking station at Bermuda is required to conduct the Antares launch from Wallops,” said Steven Kremer, chief of the Wallops Range and Mission Management Office.
“The ability to support a launch will depend on the impact the storm has on not only our systems, but also the overall Bermuda infrastructure,” Mr. Kremer noted.
After the storm system has passed Bermuda, the Wallops team will conduct a damage assessment, perform mission readiness testing, and bring the site back up to operational status.
Nicole was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category One hurricane on Tuesday at 2100 GMT by the US National Hurricane Center, which issued a hurricane warning for Bermuda.
Packing winds of 80 miles (130 kilometers) per hour, the hurricane is currently the weakest on the Saffir-Simpson scale's 1-5 ranking. Nicole could become a major hurricane, meaning Category Three or higher, by Wednesday, forecasters said.