* Launch of Orbital Sciences' Antares booster reset for
* Second weather delay follows technical glitch on Wednesday
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 20 The test-launch
of a new U.S. rocket to fly cargo to the International Space
Station was canceled on Saturday due to a second day of poor
weather at the Wallops Island, Virginia, launch site, officials
Liftoff of the Orbital Sciences Corp's Antares
rocket was rescheduled for 5 p.m EDT (2100 GMT) on Sunday.
"Excessive wind levels have caused mission managers to delay
the launch attempt (Saturday) of Orbital Sciences' Antares
rocket at the Wallops Flight Facility, Va.," NASA wrote on its
"We will try again tomorrow," Orbital Sciences wrote on
The Virginia-based company is one of two firms hired by NASA
to keep the station stocked with food, supplies and science gear
for the six live-aboard crewmembers following the retirement of
the space shuttles in 2011.
Privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX,
completed two test flights of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon
cargo capsules and last year began delivery services under a
12-flight, $1.6-billion contract.
Orbital Sciences plans to follow up its Antares
demonstration flight with a practice run to the station later
this year. The company holds a $1.9-billion contract for eight
station cargo runs. The Cygnus capsule is larger than Dragon and
can carry more cargo.
Orbital Sciences initially planned to launch its 13-story-
tall Antares rocket on Wednesday, but 12 minutes before liftoff
engineers discovered that a data cable on the booster's
upper-stage motor had disconnected.
A second launch attempt slated for Friday was called off
because of poor weather.
Antares carries a dummy Cygnus cargo capsule that is
expected to be put into orbit about 160 miles (258 km) above
Earth. The space station, a $100 billion project of 15 nations,
flies at an altitude of about 250 miles (400 km). Reaching the
station will be the goal of Orbital Sciences' second and final
test flight later this year.
In addition to the cargo resupply contracts, NASA
contributed about $684 million to Orbital Sciences and SpaceX to
develop and test their spacecraft.
The U.S. space agency, which is working on a heavy-lift
rocket and capsule to fly astronauts beyond the station's orbit,
also is backing SpaceX, Boeing, and privately owned
Sierra Nevada Corp to develop commercial spaceships to taxi
crews to the station, a service currently provided solely by
Russia at a cost of more than $60 million per person.