Antares Liftoffs Successfully From Wallops Flight Facility

By  //  April 21, 2013

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Third Attempt To Launch A CHARM

(ABOVE VIDEO: NASAtelevision)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Following a delay of four days because of a cable problem and then an abundance of high winds near the launch site, the Orbital Sciences Antares rocket was successfully launched at 5 p.m. Sunday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s  Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The Antares launch vehicle made its maiden flight on a test flight that served as the precursor for a demonstration of its Cygnus resupply ship to the International Space Station later this year.

Antares delivered a mass simulator payload to orbit 10 minutes after launch designed to mimic the Cygnus spacecraft’s weight and characteristics.

The Antares rocket is mounted on the launch pad at Wallops Island, Va. (Image courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation)

The Antares rocket is mounted on the launch pad at Wallops Island, Va. (Image courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation)

The first attempt by Orbital Sciences to launch the rocket was Wednesday, but it was scrubbed in the final minutes before blastoff because of a loose cable in the rocket’s second stage.

Wind kept the rocket on the ground for both Friday and Saturday attempts.

The Antares rocket is  a two-stage launch vehicle that is intended to carry cargo aboard the company’s robotic Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Orbital Sciences has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA for a total of eight cargo missions to the ISS.

This first test flight will confirm the ability of the Antares to reach orbit and examine its thrusting capabilities.

Sunday’s blast off was seen by millions along the eastern coastline of America.


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