An Antares rocket, one of two launchers developed with NASA backing to fly cargo capsules to the International Space Station, blasted off on its debut mission on Sunday, successfully depositing a dummy spacecraft into orbit.
Launch from a new commercial spaceport on Wallops Islands, Virginia, had been delayed from last week by a technical problem and two days of bad weather.
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By Sunday, the skies had cleared and the 13-story rocket - the biggest ever to fly from the Wallops Flight Facility - lifted off its seaside launch pad precisely at 5 p.m. EDT.
An onboard camera showed the rocket riding a bright pillar of flame as it hurtled over the Atlantic Ocean, heading toward an orbit 158 miles above Earth.
With the 4-ton dummy Cygnus capsule safely deposited into orbit, the Orbital Sciences mission control team broke into cheers and applause. They will regroup for a second and final Antares test flight slated for late June or early July when a real Cygnus capsule will attempt to fly itself to the station.