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Orbital revises Antares launch schedule
Posted: Thu, Feb 23, 2012, 7:24 AM ET (1224 GMT)
Antares launch illustration (Orbital Sciences Corp.) Executives of Orbital Sciences Corporation confirmed this week delays in the first launches of its Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft, pushing back the inaugural launch until at least June. A revised schedule announced by the company calls for a demonstration launch of the Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island, Virginia. in June, followed by a launch carrying the first Cygnus cargo spacecraft on a test flight in the third quarter. If those launches are successful, the first operational Cygnus cargo mission to the ISS would take place in the fourth quarter. Orbital is building the Antares (formerly Taurus II) rocket and Cygnus spacecraft as part of NASA's COTS program to develop commercial systems for ISS cargo transportation. Orbital officials said continuing delays in finishing the spaceport infrastructure at MARS needed to support Antares launches.
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