After a string of postponements, the Antares rocket finally rolled out to the launch pad at
And if all goes well, rocket-maker
Orbital's first mission, Orb-1, launched in January. But company spokesman
"This is not any less of a nail-biter than any of the missions," Beneski said. "There's an old phrase: You're only as good as the mission you're working on. Just because we've done it before doesn't make this any less difficult. And it's an unforgiving business."
Orbital, based in
The Antares is the biggest rocket to fly out of Wallops, and its launch will be visible along the mid-Atlantic Seaboard, weather permitting.
The booster will loft a Cygnus spacecraft carrying 3,653 pounds of payload for station astronauts, from basic crew supplies to hardware and science experiments. The last of the cargo was added Wednesday.
A cubesat is a small satellite, typically a 4-inch cube, built at low cost using off-the-shelf commercial technologies. The TechEdSat-4 is a three-unit cubesat measuring 12-by-4-by-4 inches and is set to be the first
Once the cubesat launches,
The Orb-2 mission was rescheduled multiple times since May for a range of reasons, from bad weather to a delayed launch for a SpaceX resupply mission that bumped Orbital's timetable to a malfunction in an Antares-type first-stage rocket motor during routine testing.
Beneski said the results of an investigation into that malfunction haven't been released, but the investigation and subsequent inspections of the Antares rocket motors "give us confidence that these engines are good to go."
If the launch proceeds Saturday, Beneski said, the Cygnus should berth with the space station on
Dietrich can be reached by phone at 757-247-7892.
Want to watch?
The Antares rocket is set to launch from
The public can also view the liftoff from the
NASA TV also plans to stream the launch live at nasa.gov/nasatv.
For updates on the launch or viewing sites, call the Wallops Public Information Line at 757-824-2050.
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