Jason DavisApr 22, 2013

Antares sails test payload into orbit

After a handful of weather delays and an Ethernet cable-induced scrub, Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket finally made it off the launch pad. The rocket's maiden voyage appeared to go off without a hitch, culminating with the successful insertion of a payload meant to simulate the Cygnus spacecraft into orbit. This paves the way for a full-fledged demo flight to the International Space Station, which Orbital says may come later this year. 

Here are a few scenes from the launch:

Antares rises from the pad
Antares rises from the pad Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket rises from launch pad 0A on its maiden test flight. NASA / Bill Ingalls
AJ-26 engines roar to life
AJ-26 engines roar to life Two liquid-fueled AJ-26 engines power the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket into orbit during its maiden flight on April 21, 2013. The AJ-26 is a refurbished Soviet-era NK-33 engine originally built for Russia's N1 launch vehicle. NASA / Bill Ingalls
Virginia is for rockets
Virginia is for rockets The Virginia coast recedes under Antares' exhaust plume during its maiden flight on April 21, 2013. Orbital Sciences Corporation / NASA TV
Solid in space
Solid in space The second stage, solid-fueled CASTOR 30 engine burns during Antares' final push to orbit during its inaugural flight. The Alliant Techsystems logo is visible on the side. Orbital Sciences Corporation / NASA TV

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