Orbital Sciences Antares launch delayed until 2013

Washington DC
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The first flight of Orbital Sciences' Antares space launch vehicle has been pushed into 2013.

The launch is now scheduled for early January, 2013, pushed back from December. A cold-flow test, a crucial trial in which the rocket is fueled and defueled, was pushed back due to Hurricane Sandy, which caused flooding and high winds at the Wallops Island, Virginia launch pad.

The flight, carrying an instrumented mass to represent the company's Cygnus cargo capsule, was delayed from early 2012 by delays with building the launch pad.

Once the cold-flow test is complete, scheduled for late November, a hold-down test will be held, in which the rocket's two Aerojet AJ-26 engines will be lit but the rocket restrained from flight.

The second launch, now scheduled for April 2013, will launch the first actual Cygnus capsule to the International Space Station (ISS). If completed successfully, the next flight will be the first of eight contracted flights for NASA, carrying supplies to the ISS.