Orbital's COTS Demonstration Launch Slips to September 17
Orbital Sciences Corporation announced today that the test launch of its Antares rocket with a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) is now targeted for September 17 instead of September 15.
Orbital says on its website that the decision to wait two more days came after a planning and coordination meeting with NASA. The launch time is 11:16 am Eastern Daylight Time with a 15 minute launch window. Launch is from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, VA.
This is Orbital's demonstration flight under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) program wherein the government is facilitating two companies, Orbital and SpaceX, to develop systems to take cargo to the ISS. SpaceX's Falcon 9/Dragon system became operational last year. Orbital was selected for the COTS program a year-and-a-half after SpaceX so its program is on a different schedule.
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