The launch vehicle will help make an ISS trip in mid-2013

Orbital Sciences Corporation successfully completed a test launch of its Antares rocket this weekend, which is expected to support cargo missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and launch services for medium-class satellites.

The Antares rocket is a medium-class expendable space launch vehicle made by Orbital. 

The test launch, called the Antares A-ONE mission, took place at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. Lift-off was at 5 p.m. EDT.

Payload separation occurred about 10 minutes after launch. The total time of the mission was 18 minutes.

“Today marked a giant step forward for the Antares program, with a fully successful inaugural flight of the largest and most complex rocket the company has ever developed and flown, said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “With its successful test flight from the MARS pad at Wallops Island, we will now move forward toward completing the full demonstration mission of our system to resupply the International Space Station with essential cargo in just a couple of months.”

Orbital will soon demonstrate a test flight to the ISS using the Antares rocket and the Cygnus cargo logistics spacecraft in mid-2013. After that, it will begin its cargo delivery missions to the ISS under its $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. This contract, which was awarded in 2008, will allow Orbit to deliver up to 20,000 kilograms of supplies to the ISS over eight separate missions spanning from 2013 to 2016.

Source: Orbital

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