CABLE PROBLEM DELAYS ANTARES LAUNCH

By  //  April 18, 2013

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Blast Off Now Set For Friday

(VIDEO: ThunderAerospace)

BREVARD COUNTY • KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA – Those awaiting the first launch of the new Antares rocket by Orbital Sciences Corp. will have to stand by for a few more days.

The maiden flight of the Antares rocket of Orbital Sciences Corp. is now scheduled to blast off from a NASA facility in Virginia on Friday. (Image courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corp.)

The maiden flight of the Antares rocket of Orbital Sciences Corp. is now scheduled to blast off from a NASA facility in Virginia on Friday. (Image courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corp.)

Orbital Sciences called an abort of the launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Test Facility in Virginia on Wednesday afternoon when a data cable broke free from the rocket’s second stage 12 minutes before its scheduled liftoff.

“We are still examining all of the data, but it appears that the issue is fairly straightforward,” Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s executive vice president and mission director for the test flight, said in a press release. “With this being the first launch of the new system from a new launch facility we have taken prudent steps to ensure a safe and successful outcome. Today, our scrub procedures were exercised and worked as planned.  We are looking forward to a successful launch on Friday.”

Orbital Sciences is now hoping to launch Antares at 5 p.m. Friday.

Culbertson said the launch could potentially be witnessed by millions of people.

“It’s going to be the biggest and loudest and brightest thing that ever launched from Wallops, I believe, so it’ll be visible up and down the coast,” he said.

This first Antares launch is to ensure the rocket is capable of achieving orbit and to test thrusters that will allow an Orbital Sciences spacecraft to eventually carry cargo to the International Space Station.

NASA has a $1.9 billion agreement with Orbital Sciences to launch eight unmanned supply missions using Antares and the company’s robotic Cygnus spacecraft. Cygnus and Antares could be launched together on a demonstration mission to the ISS in early June, according to Culbertson.


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