Business, Economics and Jobs

Launch of groundbreaking new US rocket postponed (VIDEO)


The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is seen during sun rise on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Sunday, April 21, 2013. NASA's commercial space partner, Orbital Sciences Corporation, is scheduled to test launch its first Antares later in the day. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)



The launch of the new US Antares rocket has been postponed due to poor weather conditions at the Virginia launch site, although the private company developing the craft under a US NASA contract plan on trying again Sunday.

The unusual new Antares rocket is being produced by Orbital Science, and is intended for use to resupply the International Space Station after the widely-lamented 2011 retirement of the Space Shuttle — an interesting new example of the private market's entry into the space game.

Read more from GlobalPost: New planets discovered could harbor life, but don't expect us to find out

"Excessive wind levels have caused mission managers to delay the launch attempt today of Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket at the Wallops Flight Facility," NASA wrote on its website Saturday, citing winds that "exceed range safety restrictions."

An earlier countdown was cancelled on Wednesday after a data cable disconnected from the rocket, noted Bloomberg. The launch is meant to test the rocket, as well as a simulated cargo carrier that will separate from the main body of the craft.

Space fanatics can tune in to NASA TV to watch the launch at 4:30 PM EDT on Sunday, at this address. The new launch window on Sunday will extend from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, notes the Antares website, which also provides a Google Earth graphic that will tell you where to watch the rocket's flight.

The new rocket is set to be part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, which will help keep the International Space Station up and running.

The space agency selected Orbital Sciences and Space Exploration Technologies for the contract, reports Reuters — Orbital Sciences currently holds an impressive $1.9 billion contract to carry out eight cargo station missions.