Antares Rocket Launches Successfully

Orbital Sciences Antares rocket successfully launched on its maiden voyage at 5 pm EDT (21:00 UTC) on Sunday, April 21 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The test flight is serving as the precursor for a demonstration flight of its Cygnus resupply ship to the International Space Station later this year. About 10 minutes after launch, it placed a mass simulator payload to orbit designed to mimic the Cygnus spacecraft’s weight and characteristics. It is in orbit at 250 km (155 miles) in altitude and moving at27,350 km/hr (17,000 mph).

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004. She is the author of a new book on the Apollo program, "Eight Years to the Moon," which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible. Her first book, "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond.

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  • Thanks for the video Nancy! It made my whole day seeing this successful launch! Orbital Sciences whirls my ROCK! Just a little disappointed about not seeing the flames begin at the pad? Kind of used to seeing that?

  • That was a smooth test flight.
    To bad the newspapers still highlight that the average human verbal abilities don't go much further than the modern version of sticks and stones.
    two opposite worlds. Maybe 400 more years to go to put the sticks and stones behind us as well and take flight between the stars.

  • I always wondered why, after carrying the tanks and such most of the way to orbit, why they don't take them all the way into orbit to be used as material for the next space station, or to be refueld in orbit to be used to send men to mars and such.

    I mean, you've already used all that money to build it, then all the fuel to send it into orbit (not to mention the fuel used to send the fuel used to send it into orbit :S) why not make use of it IN orbit?

    • There is perhaps a possibility for making some use of the much smaller second stage, it doesn't have a very big tank, but it does have a working rocket engine. However, if you are referring to the main stage, it really isn't feasible. Don't be fooled by the fact that stage separation doesn't happen until they are already in space; at that point there is still several km/s of velocity required before they reach orbit. If it was practical to bring the whole rocket up to that speed, they wouldn't use multiple stages in the first place.

      • I was thinking more of the old external tank on the space shuttle, but even the second stage would have use. Insulation from the cryo tanks could be used to insulate the ISS modules and as you say there is a perfectly good rocket engine there.

    • Excellent point Tony. Most if not all USgov agencies are wasteful. #1-out right stealing. .. #2-wasteful actions. ..#3-over spending for materials. ..#4-corrupt picking & choosing of contracting work out. Are the people running these individual who are allocating, spending agencies paying for it? Heck NO!!! If you took all those I mentioned & put a price tag on them. You'd be able to have at least 3 or more disciplines in any area get their funding. Where ever $ is & who controls where it goes. Trust me, those 4 actions mentioned will come into play w/ease. I have seen it & experienced it. I left two jobs due to those actions. Does "Halliburton ring a bell? "Today is Earth Day". ..take care.

    • First stage separation occurs well before the vehicle has achieved sufficient velocity to coast all the way around the Earth. And then there is the problem of reentry. Reentry forces would tear the first stage apart.

  • Tried to see the launch from south of Baltimore (northern Anne Arundel Co.), about 100 miles from Wallops Island. Unfortunately, clouds to the SSE blocked the view. Hopefully we will have better luck with the demo mission in July.

  • Unlike SpaceX or Blue origin, Orbital is a another fat corporate without innovation and vision for future. they basically spend whole this amount time and sum of R&D money to through a piece of Rock in the orbit!

  • unlike SpaceX and Blue Origin, Orbital is another example of fat boring corporate without any innovation or vision for future, basically what they did was spending big chunk of R&D money and time to trow a rock into orbit!

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