Monday, 22 April 2013

First Antares rocket launched

First Antares rocket launched, The first Antares rocket lifted off from a Virginia launch pad April 21 and delivered a simulated spacecraft into Earth's orbit.

The completed flight, which began at 5 p.m. Eastern time from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va., paves the way for Orbital Sciences Corp. to conduct a demonstration later this year in which another Antares rocket will resupply the International Space Station. David Thompson, Orbital chairman and chief executive officer, said the demonstration will occur “in just a couple months.”

Orbital is developing Antares to ship experiments and supplies to the space station aboard the company’s new Cygnus cargo spacecraft. After successfully completing the demonstration, Orbital is slated to conduct eight cargo resupply flights from 2013 to 2016 under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.

NASA hopes the Antares-Cygnus effort will help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign spacecraft to support the space station.

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