Orbital Sciences to launch Antares rocket

2013-04-20 14:25
Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket sits on the launch pad after a scrubbed launch attempt at the Nasa facility on Wallops Island Virginia. (Steve Helber, AP)

Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket sits on the launch pad after a scrubbed launch attempt at the Nasa facility on Wallops Island Virginia. (Steve Helber, AP)

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Washington - Orbital Sciences, one of two private US firms chosen by Nasa to shuttle cargo to the International Space Station, will make a new attempt on Saturday to launch a first test flight of its Antares rocket.

The new planned launch, which the company announced on Friday, came after an attempt was scrubbed on Wednesday because of technical problems.

The new launch time is set for 17:00 (2100 GMT) on Saturday from the Wallops flight facility on an island off the coast of the state of Virginia, around 270km from Washington.

If for some reason it is not possible to carry out Saturday's launch, the company could make an attempt on Sunday at the same time, officials at Orbital Sciences said.

The Antares rocket, a two-stage launch vehicle 40m tall and 3.9m in diameter, is set to hit an orbit of 249km about 10 minutes after take-off.

A $1.9bn contract requires Orbital Sciences to deliver freight to the ISS over the course of eight flights by the beginning of 2016.

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