Tribute to retiring NASA launch commentator George Diller

Rodiano Bonacci
Aprile 20, 2017

The launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket-aimed at transporting supplies to the International Space Station-is scheduled for a 30-minute window beginning at 11:11 a.m. ET.

Want the world's best, up-close view of a rocket launch without being right there at the pad?

The Cygnus ship is named for John Glenn, who rode into orbit on one of the original Atlas rockets in 1962, Florida Today reported.

The RL10C took Cygnus the rest of the way to orbit, burning out 18 minutes, 12 seconds into the flight. "We will review today's 360º setup and endeavor to bring this new perspective of a rocket launch to everyone in the future".

"It was a handsome launch", said Vern Thorp, United Launch Alliance (ULA) commercial missions program manager.

A bit more than two hours after launch, the Cygnus, also known as the SS John Glenn, deployed its two solar arrays and engineers reported the spacecraft was healthy and ready to begin a four-day rendezvous. NASA broadcast an unprecedented 360-degree view of the launch via YouTube, in a debut of new video technology.

The cargo ship is named after John Glenn, the famed astronauts who was the first American to orbit the Earth and who died a year ago at age 95.

This is Orbital ATK's seventh cargo-delivery mission with a Cygnus spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services 1 program.

The Cygnus is slated to stay at the station until July, when it'll be loaded up with trash, detach, and hang out in orbit again. The SS John Glenn is expected to rendezvous with the Space Station on Saturday after a Russian Soyuz spacecraft launching on Thursday has time to reach the station, according to Space.com.

The redesigned booster successfully flew last October, but Orbital bought a third more powerful - and expensive - Atlas 5 to help NASA get additional supplies to the station faster than would otherwise be possible.

Diller said his time at the space agency has been a "heck of a ride".

When Cygnus arrives at the ISS, it will be grabbed by the stations robotic Canadarm2, which will be operated by the crew of Expedition 51, at about 6:05 a.m. EDT (10:05 GMT).

Among the cargo is an advanced plant habitat, "the largest production facility for plants ever on the space station", Ruttley said.

The capsule also carries 38 shoebox-sized satellites and a high school student's science project that will test how telomeres, which are structures at the ends of chromosomes, are affected by microgravity.

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