Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its unmanned Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Va., offering a view to nearby states along the East Coast.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — A privately launched supply ship rocketed toward the International Space Station on Thursday following a series of delays ranging from the cold to the sun.
Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its unmanned Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Va., offering a view to nearby states along the East Coast. It successfully hoisted a capsule packed with 3,000 pounds of equipment and experiments provided by NASA, as well as food and even some ants for an educational project. Christmas presents also are on board for the six space station residents; the delivery is a month late.
The spacecraft, named Cygnus, should reach the station on Sunday. The orbiting outpost was zooming over the Atlantic, near Brazil, when the Antares blasted off.
It s going to be an exciting weekend, Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata said in a tweet from the space station.
The delivery had been delayed three times since December, most recently because of a strong solar storm. Engineers initially feared solar radiation might cause the rocket to veer off course. But additional reviews Wednesday deemed it an acceptable risk. Previous delays were due to space station repairs and frigid temperatures. Thursday was a relatively balmy 45 degrees.
NASA is paying Orbital Sciences and the SpaceX company to restock the space station. The Orbital Sciences contract alone is worth .9 billion.
This was Orbital Sciences second trip to the orbiting lab, but its first under the contract. The company conducted a successful test run last September. It launches from NASA s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia, its corporate base. California-based SpaceX flies from Cape Canaveral. It s scheduled to make its fourth supply run next month. Cygnus cargo spacecraft launches from Virginia 3 hr ago | 0:44 | Views: 2k Watch Video
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