Antares rocket lifts off from Virginia on way to space station

SALISBURY, Md. — An Orbital ATK Antares rocket lifted off successfully Monday evening from Virginia's Eastern Shore boosting supplies to the International Space Station.

The launch was postponed 24 hours Sunday because a cable did not perform as expected during a pre-launch check, according to NASA.

The last time an Antares lifted off from Wallops Island, on Oct. 28, 2014, its flight was short-lived.

The rocket rose briefly, then fell back to the ground with a tremendous explosion after a failure by decades-old Russian engines that had been refurbished.

Since then, Orbital ATK launched two Cygnus mission's from Cape Canaveral in Florida on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V rocket. The stakes were high Monday because SpaceX, NASA’s other commercial launcher of station cargo, is investigating a Falcon 9 rocket’s Sept. 1 launch pad explosion, and it’s unclear how soon it will fly again.

The redesigned rocket, now powered by a pair of Russian RD-181 main engines, boosted into space an unmanned Cygnus cargo module carrying nearly 5,300 pounds of food, equipment and experiments headed for the International Space Station.

Contributing: James Dean, Florida Today.


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