Last week, Orbital Sciences completed the first launch of its Antares rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
This first launch is a positive outcome of the public-private partnership between Orbital Sciences and the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA). The two have partnered since 2008 to develop and improve Pad 0A, the liquid-fuel-capable launch facility at MARS.
As a test flight, the purpose of this mission was to launch the Antares rocket and deliver a payload similar in mass to the Cygnus spacecraft into the Earth’s orbit. In addition, the mission also launched three smartphones into orbit to test them for use as satellites.
The test flight is the first of 10 Antares missions scheduled from MARS. Orbital Sciences will next perform a demonstration mission, followed by eight resupply missions, delivering cargo to the International Space Station.
As part of the new era of space exploration in the U.S., NASA is increasingly relying on corporate partners through its Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. In December 2008, NASA awarded Orbi
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