Monday, April 22, 2013

Successful first flight for Antares rocket

Successful first flight for Antares rocket, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp. successfully launched their new Antares rocket at 5 p.m. EDT on Sunday from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The test flight was the first launch from Pad-0A at Wallops and was the first flight of Antares.

"Today's successful test marks another significant milestone in NASA's plan to rely on American companies to launch supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), bringing this important work back to the United States where it belongs," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

"President Obama has presented a budget for next year that ensures the United States will remain the world leader in space exploration, and a critical part of this budget is the funding needed to advance NASA's commercial space initiative," Bolden said. "In order to stop outsourcing American space launches, we need to have the President's budget enacted. It's a budget that's good for our economy, good for the U.S. Space program -- and good for American taxpayers."

The completed test flight performed on Sunday paves the way for a demonstration mission by Orbital to resupply the International Space Station later this year. Antares will launch experiments and supplies to the orbiting laboratory carried aboard the company's new Cygnus cargo spacecraft.

Following the launch of Antares, John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, said, “The growing potential of America's commercial space industry and NASA's use of public-private partnerships are central to President Obama's strategy to ensure U.S. leadership in space exploration while pushing the bounds of scientific discovery and innovation in the 21st century. With NASA focusing on the challenging and exciting task of sending humans deeper into space than ever before, private companies will be crucial in taking the baton for American cargo and crew launches into low-Earth orbit.”

Orbital is building and testing its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. After successful completion of a COTS demonstration mission to the station, Orbital will begin conducting eight planned cargo resupply flights to the ISS.

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