Antares rocket lifts off from Virginia on way to space station

Antares rocket lifts off from Virginia on way to space station

Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft successfully lifted off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The spacecraft is on a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

SALISBURY, Md. — An Orbital ATK Antares rocket lifted off successfully Monday evening from Virginia’s Eastern Shore boosting supplies to the International Space Station.

The launch was postponed 24 hours Sunday because a cable did not perform as expected during a pre-launch check, according to NASA.

The last time an Antares lifted off from Wallops Island, on Oct. 28, 2014, its flight was short-lived.

The rocket rose briefly, then fell back to the ground with a tremendous explosion after a failure by decades-old Russian engines that had been refurbished.

Since then, Orbital ATK launched two Cygnus mission’s from Cape Canaveral in Florida on United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. The stakes were high Monday because SpaceX, NASA’s other commercial launcher of station cargo, is investigating a Falcon 9 rocket’s Sept. 1 launch pad explosion, and it’s unclear how soon it will fly again.

The redesigned rocket, now powered by a pair of Russian RD-181 main engines, boosted into space an unmanned Cygnus cargo module carrying nearly 5,300 pounds of food, equipment and experiments headed for the International Space Station.

Contributing: James Dean, Florida Today.

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