Orbital ATK postpones Cygnus launch until September


Orbital ATK is postponing the launch of its next Cygnus mission to the ISS until September.

The company announced Wednesday that the launch, previously scheduled for Aug. 22, had been pushed back to the latter half of September due to what company executives said were “a variety of interrelated factors” involving both its Antares launch vehicle and ISS activities.

The company, in a conference call to discuss its quarterly financial results, also said that the commercial communications satellite market is weaker than expected and would thus contribute less revenue.

Orbital ATK’s stock dropped sharply Wednesday when the company said it would restate earnings because of accounting errors on a U.S. Army munitions contract. [SpaceNews / Bloomberg]

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The Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight, and could be especially brilliant. The peak of the annual meteor shower will be the overnight hours Thursday into Friday, with some astronomers forecasting a peak meteor rate of 200 per hour, double the usual peak. The high peak this year is caused by Jupiter’s gravity tugging on the cometary debris trail that causes the meteor shower, pulling more material towards Earth. [GeekWire]

A 3-D printer for food originally funded by NASA is now finding more down to Earth applications. A 2013 NASA grant to the Systems and Materials Research Corporation supported development of the printer that could produce food, such as pizza, that the company envisioned could help future Mars missions. The company did not win a follow-on grant from NASA to continue that work, and the team working on the printer has now started up a new company, BeeHex, to adapt the printer to produce on-demand pizzas in custom shapes for sale at amusement parks and sporting events. BeeHex hopes that NASA will one day come back to them when the agency decides that it, in fact, does need a 3-D pizza printer for its Mars expeditions. [Motherboard]