Orbital Rolls Antares to Pad for Jan. 8 Launch

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WASHINGTON — Orbital Sciences Corp. has moved its Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo capsule to the launch pad at Wallops Island, Va., in preparation for the company’s first contracted cargo launch to the international space station on Jan. 8.

The mission had been scheduled to launch Jan. 7, but Orbital and NASA decided to delay a day to wait out a cold front approaching the U.S. East Coast. Temperatures at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a Virginia-owned part of NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility where Antares launches, could be as low as 12 below zero Celsius Jan. 7.

Orbital had originally expected to launch the first of its eight Commercial Resupply Services missions to the station in late December. The flight was delayed because station crew had to perform two spacewalks to fix a faulty ammonia pump that caused the outpost’s cooling system to malfunction.

 

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