Monday, 15 April 2013

Biggest rocket launch for Virginia ready for liftoff

Biggest rocket launch for Virginia ready for liftoff, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp. rolled out the first fully integrated Antares rocket from its assembly building at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on April 6. The 135-foot-tall Antares rocket is scheduled for liftoff at 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday from Wallops Island, Va.

“We are on a clear path to a launch date of April 17, provided there are no significant weather disruptions or major vehicle check-out delays between now and then,” said Michael Pinkston, Orbital’s Antares program manager.

The Antares test flight, dubbed the A-ONE mission, is the first of two missions Orbital is scheduled to conduct in 2013 under its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services Space Act Agreement with NASA. Following a successful A-ONE launch, Orbital will carry out a full flight demonstration of its new Antares/Cygnus cargo delivery system to the International Space Station (ISS) around mid-year. In addition, the company is also scheduled to launch the first of eight operational cargo resupply missions to the ISS in 2013 under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

The Antares medium-class launch system will provide a major increase in the payload launch capability that Orbital can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other customers. The Antares rocket will launch spacecraft weighing up to 14,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit.

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