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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Private Rocket Moves to Virginia Launch Pad for Test Flight

•, by Miriam Kramer

The Antares rocket — developed by aerospace firm Orbital Sciences Corp. and launching from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. — is expected to eventually deliver cargo to the International Space Station as part of a $1.9 billion deal with the space agency. Liftoff is set for Wednesday, April 17.

"With the completion of the Antares roll out today, we are on a clear path to a launch date of April 17, provided there are no significant weather disruptions or major vehicle check-out delays between now and then," Orbital's Antares program manager Michael Pinkston said in a statement.
 During the test flight (dubbed A-ONE), Antares is expected to carry a mockup of Orbital's unmanned Cygnus spacecraft to an altitude of 155 miles to 185 miles (250 to 300 kilometers) above the Earth's surface. The Cygnus mockup is a mass simulator of the spacecraft designed to mimic the weight of an actual Orbital Cygnus vehicle, which the company plans to use for unmanned cargo delivers to the International Space Station. [Photos: Orbital's Antares Rocket and Cygnus Capsule]

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