Antares rocket successfully launches from Virginia coast

Antares rocket successfully launches from Virginia coast

With the successful launch of an upgraded Antares rocket on Monday, Orbital ATK has effectively returned to its cargo launch mission.

Equipped with two new Russian-made engines, the Antares rocket lifted off at 7:45 p.m. EDT from Wallops Island, Virginia, marking the company’s return to flight two years after a previous version of the rocket exploded within seconds after the lift off.

The last time an Antares rocket lifted off from Wallops Island was on Oct. 28, 2014, when the booster exploded soon after its launch. That booster rose and suddenly fell back, before exploding. The company later said in a statement that the failure was due to aging Russian engines that had been refurbished for the mission.

The soaring rocket after yesterday’s launch, which occurred following multiple delays due to various issues, was visible from the Long Island and other nearby areas.

The stakes were really high on Monday because Elon Musk-led SpaceX, U.S. space agency NASA’s other commercial launcher of ISS cargo, suffered a major setback on September 1, when its Falcon 9 rocket exploded. It is still unclear how soon a falcon rocket will fly again.

The redesigned rocket is carrying an unmanned Cygnus cargo module loaded with nearly 5,300 pounds of food, equipment and experiments for the International Space Station (ISS). It is
Orbital’s sixth mission to the station.


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