A Cygnus cargo ship began a long-delayed, three-day journey to the International Space Station on Sunday following a successful launch aboard Orbital Sciences Corp's fourth Antares rocket.
The 13-story rocket blasted off at 12:52 p.m. EDT from the new Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast.
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"It's a very exciting day for us," said Orbital Sciences vice president Frank Culbertson, a former astronaut who spent four months aboard the space station in 2001.
"I think we found the secret to getting people's attention here on the eastern shore of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, and that's to launch on a Sunday in July," Culbertson quipped. "There's a lot of traffic out there right now."
"It took a lot of effort for people to pull this off. We worked a lot of problems up to the last couple of months that had to be resolved. Even today, as we were working through the countdown, small things came up and people had to figure them out," he said.