The United States is sending two of its most advanced spacecraft into space for the first time, the space agency announced Friday.
The Discovery and the Antares rockets will blast off from Cape Canaveral on Sunday afternoon (March 15) at 10:06 p.m.
EDT (2006 GMT) for a two-and-a-half-hour flight into orbit.NASA’s Antares rocket will blast into orbit on March 16 at 1:54 a.m., followed by the Discovery rocket on March 17 at 2:16 a.man.
The two satellites will be carrying a suite of science experiments, including a suite to look at the chemistry and dynamics of carbon-based life on the Moon and beyond.
Discovery is a heavy-lift rocket that has the capacity to carry up to seven astronauts into low Earth orbit.
It has a total mass of about 2,400 metric tons and can carry more than 6,000 pounds (2,300 kilograms) into low-Earth orbit.
The mission also includes the Antunes rocket, which is a lighter-than-air vehicle that can carry up 5,000 kilograms (11,500 pounds) into the lower atmosphere.NASA officials have said that the Antides will be used primarily for research missions in the coming years, but it is also expected to be used in other commercial and government programs.NASA will also send the Antare spacecraft to the International Space Station, which NASA officials said could be the first use of the space station for human exploration.NASA announced a similar mission to the space shuttles earlier this month, but NASA said the spaceflight was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Antares is NASA’s fifth launch to the orbiting laboratory.
NASA is currently conducting two other flights: one to the asteroid Bennu and the other to the moon Phobos.