October 27 Confirmed as Orb-3 Launch Date

October 27 Confirmed as Orb-3 Launch Date

NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation have confirmed the October 27, 2014 launch date for Orbital’s Orb-3 cargo mission to the International Space Station  (ISS).  The launch date was dependent on whether a tracking station on Bermuda withstood Hurricane Gonzalo.   Inspectors have determined it will be ready for the launch next week.

This is Orbital’s third operational cargo mission to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA.  Orbital launches its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the coast of Virginia. The Bermuda tracking station is required for such launches.

Launch is scheduled for 6:45 pm Eastern Daylight Time on October 27.

Orbital announced that it has named this Cygnus spacecraft after the late Deke Slayton.  Slayton was one of first seven astronauts selected for America’s human spaceflight program in 1959 — the Mercury 7 — but an irregular heartbeat kept him grounded until he was cleared to fly the very last Apollo mission —  the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. After leaving NASA, he became one of the early commercial space launch entrepreneurs, heading a company named Space Services that developed the Conestoga 1 rocket, which in 1982 because the first privately funded rocket to reach space.

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