Orbital Will Wait Till Satuday for Next Antares Launch Attempt

Orbital Will Wait Till Satuday for Next Antares Launch Attempt

A very poor weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon means that Orbital Sciences Corporation will wait until Saturday, April 20, before attempting to launch its new Antares rocket again.  The launch window opens at 5:00 pm ET on Saturday.

The first attempt last night was scrubbed 12 minutes before launch when an umbilical providing data between the Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL) and the rocket’s upper stage separated prematurely.   Orbital determined that a “slight hydraulic movement” of the TEL coupled with insufficient slack in the cable caused the cable to pull out.  The company was hoping to resolve the problem and launch tomorrow, but the forecast prevents that.

Weather Underground’s forecast for Wallops Island, VA, where Antares will be launched, calls for 15-25 mile per hour (mph) winds, gusting to 30 mph, and a 90 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms tomorrow night.

This is the first test launch of Antares as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to develop commercial space transportation systems to take cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).  Orbital is hoping for a second test launch to send its Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS this summer and for operations to commence soon thereafter.

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