Orbit successfully launches rocket in third attempt
ATLANTIC, Va. — A company contracted by NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station successfully launched a rocket on Sunday in a test of its ability to send a cargo ship aloft.
About 10 minutes after the launch from Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles declared the test a success after observing a practice payload reach orbit and safely separate from the rocket.
The launch occurs after two previous attempts were scrubbed. A data cord that was connected to the rocket's second stage came loose minutes before the rocket was set to lift off on Friday, and company officials said they were easily able to fix the problem. A second attempt on Saturday was scrubbed because of wind.
The company from the Washington suburb of Dulles was one of two, along with California-based competitor SpaceX, chosen to supply the space station after NASA ended its three-decade-old shuttle program in 2011. The space agency turned to private companies for the job, saying it would focus on getting manned flights to asteroids and to Mars.
SpaceX was awarded a $1.6 billion contract by NASA in 2006 to make a dozen missions to restock the space station. Orbital got into the mix in 2008 when it was awarded a $1.9 billion contract for eight deliveries.
“We've been playing catch- up, but we're about caught up,” Frank Culbertson, executive vice president and general manager of Orbital's Advanced Programs Group, said on Tuesday. “By the end of next year, we should have an additional four or five cargo missions under our belt, so we're going to be moving fast.”
This summer, Orbital plans to launch a rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo ship to find out whether it can safely dock with the space station. During the scheduled demonstration flight, the cargo ship would carry about 1,600 pounds of supplies.
Those supplies aren't part of the company's contract. But the company agreed to ferry supplies because it was going there much as SpaceX did on its first demonstration flight in May 2012, when it dropped off 1,000 pounds of food, clothes, batteries and other provisions.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More rain worsens flooding in Texas
- Shootings, slayings surge during Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, Baltimore
- Federal appeals court declines to lift injunction on deportations
- IRS says hackers stole tax info from 100,000
- Oregon proposal would outlaw sneak photos up women’s skirts
- Texas man charged with helping friend’s bid to join ISIS
- John Nash, wife, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ inspiration, die in N.J. taxi crash
- Doctors, hospitals get more time to convert to electronic health records
- ‘Free-range’ parents cleared of neglect
- Airman kills 1 in North Dakota store
- Gouging rare in loans to troops