Orbital’s Antares rocket makes successful test flight

The Antares rocket launched smoothly on Sunday, and will ferry cargo to the ISS in June or July.

(Credit: Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET)

After multiple scrubbed launches last week, an Antares rocket finally lifted off the ground from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as part of Orbital Sciences’ bid to transport cargo to the International Space Station.

The rocket lifted off at 5 p.m. ET Sunday and achieved orbit smoothly. It launched an 8,400-pound mock Cygnus supply ship into orbit about 158 miles above Earth.

Antares is a medium-class, two-stage, 13-storey rocket designed to carry payloads of up to 6,500 kg (14,329 pounds). Along with SpaceX, Orbital was awarded a Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract to resupply the ISS.

The successful test launch means Orbital will start ferrying goods to the space station, becoming the second private company to do so after SpaceX.

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