Orbital Delays Antares Launch By at Least One Day

Orbital Delays Antares Launch By at Least One Day

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s demonstration flight of its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station will be delayed by at least one day, from September 17 to September 18.

The company and NASA each announced this afternoon that the launch was being postponed because weather at the Wallops Flight Facility yesterday delayed the roll-out of the rocket to the pad and because of a technical issue that developed during a test last night.

Orbital’s tweets and press release about the roll-out yesterday made no mention of delays for any reason, including weather.  The first mention is in a statement on the company’s website now where it states that the launch will be delayed “by at least 24 hours” because of the roll-out delay and the technical problem — an inoperative cable that disrupted communications between the rocket’s flight computer and ground equipment. 

The cable is being replaced and another test will take place later today.   If the test is successful, Orbital will proceed with plans to launch on September 18.  The launch window that day is 10:50-11:05 am Eastern Daylight Time.

This flight is Orbital’s demonstration mission as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS), or commercial cargo, program.  The Cygnus spacecraft is intended to berth with the International Space Station.   If the launch occurs on September 18, the date for berthing remains the same — Sunday, September 22. 



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