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Antares blasts off on 3rd try

Antares blasts off on 3rd try
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Commercial rocket a test run for shuttling cargo to ISS Wallops Island (Agencies): A new commercial rocket proved it is ready to start boosting cargo...

Commercial rocket a test run for shuttling cargo to ISS

Wallops Island (Agencies): A new commercial rocket proved it is ready to start boosting cargo to the International Space Station with a historic test flight on Sunday from Virginia's Eastern Shore.A Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket blasted off at 5 pm from Wallops Island � becoming the largest rocket to do so � and dropped a simulated spacecraft in orbit 10 minutes later.

The milestone set the stage for the Antares to launch a real cargo spacecraft, called Cygnus, on a demonstration mission to the station. That flight is tentatively planned in late June or early July."That's great news," ISS commander Chris Hadfield radioed after being told of the successful launch. "Congratulations to all concerned, and that bodes well for all of our futures. Super."

The rocket's maiden flight came just more than five years after NASA selected Dulles, Va.-based Orbital to participate in a public-private partnership developing new rockets and spacecraft to resupply the station after the space shuttle's retirement.

The program already included SpaceX, whose Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule last year became the first privately operated vehicles to reach the station and have now completed three successful visits.

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