Antares Rocket Debut Flight Reset for Saturday
Orbital Sciences Corp., the second of two firms hired by NASA to haul cargo to the International Space Station, will try again today (Saturday) to launch its new Antares rocket, officials said Thursday.
Liftoff of the 13-story Antares booster from a new commercial spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia, had been planned for Wednesday, but about 12 minutes before launch flight controllers discovered a data umbilical on the rocket’s upper-stage had prematurely disconnected, prompting a delay.
The problem was fixed and the rocket was ready for a second launch attempt on Friday, but a dismal weather forecast spurred another 24-hour hold. Launch is now targeted for 6:10 p.m. EDT (2210 UT) on Saturday.
Antares will be carrying a dummy cargo capsule into orbit. If all goes as planned, a real Cygnus capsule will be aboard during the company’s second test flight later this year.
Image: The Antares rocket awaits launch at Wallops Island, Virginia. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.