Aerospace and defence technology company Northrop Grumman has cancelled the launch of commercial Cygnus cargo ship to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft was scheduled for launch on 9 February from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on Wallops Island, Virginia, US, at Nasa’s Wallops Flight Facility.

According to Nasa, the launch was aborted after discovering ‘off-nominal readings from a ground support sensor’.

Antares rocket was loaded with disposable Cygnus capsule, which carries approximately 3,400kg of cargo for the crew in the station.

Northrop Grumman vice-president and general manager for tactical space systems Frank DeMauro said: “Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft has undergone a number of upgrades throughout our 13 missions.

“We continue to offer Nasa and our commercial customers a reliable spacecraft that not only delivers vital cargo but is also a fully functioning science laboratory in space and has now demonstrated its ability to perform long-duration in-orbit operations.”

Named NG-13, this is Northrop Grumman’s 13th cargo mission for Nasa and the second mission under Nasa’s Commercial Resupply Services-2 contract.

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With the critical weather forecast in the next two days and time necessary to fix the ground support issues, the two companies have set the launch attempt to no earlier than 13 February.

In November 2019, Northrop Grumman launched the 12th Cygnus cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) for Nasa.

A part of the Commercial Resupply Services-2 (CRS-2) contract, the mission delivered cargo weighing approximately 3,729kg.