Successful Antares Rocket Launch from Wallops Island - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Successful Antares Rocket Launch from Wallops Island

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(Photo: NASA's Wallops Flight Facility) (Photo: NASA's Wallops Flight Facility)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. - Nearly two years after an Antares rocket was terminated seconds after liftoff causing a massive explosion on Wallops Island, the commercial spaceflight company, Orbital ATK, successfully launched its upgraded Antares rocket on Monday night from Virginia's Eastern Shore.

After several delays during 2016, the launch finally took place Monday night at 7:40 p.m.  The Antares rocket is carrying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.  Cygnus is loaded with about 5,100 pounds of cargo for the astronauts on-board the I.S.S.

It was October 28, 2014 when Orbital ATK last attempted at Antares launch from Wallops Island.  Just seconds after liftoff, an issue with one of the rocket's engines forced the launch to be terminated.  The rocket came crashing back down to earth, narrowly missing the launch pad.  

Since the failed launch, the Antares rocket has been upgraded.  Orbital ATK blamed the launch failure on the Antares rocket's former engine.  The AJ26 engines were refurbished Russian rockets from the 1960's.  The Antares rockets have now been outfitted with new RD-181 engines.  

The launch Monday evening was Orbital ATK's sixth resupply launch to the International Space Station while under contract with NASA.  The Cygnus spacecraft will meet us with the I.S.S. on Sunday so the astronauts on board can unload all of the cargo.

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