Orbital Announces New Launch Date for Orb-2

Orbital Announces New Launch Date for Orb-2

Orbital Sciences Corporation announced today that July 11 is the new launch date for its second operational cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Orb-2.  The launch has been delayed several times for a variety of reasons.

The launch is scheduled for 1:40 pm Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the coast of Virginia.  Orbital’s Antares rocket will send a Cygnus cargo spacecraft to ISS packed with 3,000 pounds of science experiments, supplies and a number of nanosatellites that will be deployed from the ISS.

If the launch takes place on time, Cygnus will arrive at the ISS on Tuesday, July 15.  ISS crew members Steve Swanson (NASA) and Alexander Gerst (ESA) will grapple the spacecraft using Canada’s robotic Canadarm2 at approximately 7:24 am EDT.  It then will be installed onto the ISS Harmony module at about 9:30 am ET.

NASA TV will cover all of the events live, as well as two pre-launch press conferences on July 10: a science briefing at 4:00 pm EDT and a mission status briefing at 5:00 pm EDT.

The Orb-2 launch was originally delayed in May because SpaceX had to postpone the launch of its competing Falcon 9/Dragon system.  The two companies more-or-less alternate in sending their cargo ships to ISS.   Orb-2 encountered additional delays after an AJ26 rocket engine failed during a test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.  Antares is powered by Russian AJ26 engines and while the one that failed is for a launch in 2015, since they are the same design, the company needed to be sure the problem did not affect the engine on this rocket.

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