| CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. July 13
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. July 13 - An unmanned
Orbital Sciences Corp Antares rocket blasted off from a
seaside launch pad in Virginia on Sunday, sending a Cygnus cargo
ship on its way to the International Space Station, a NASA
Television broadcast showed.
The 133-foot-tall (41-meter-tall) rocket lifted off at 12:52
p.m. EDT/1652 GMT from a commercially operated launch pad at
NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility on the Virginia coast.
Perched on top of the rocket was a Cygnus spacecraft, built
by Orbital Sciences in partnership with Italy's Thales Alenia
Space, a joint venture of Thales SA and Finmeccanica
The freighter was loaded with more than 3,660 pounds (1,660
kg) of food, science equipment and supplies for the space
station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 264
miles (425 km) above Earth. The capsule was slated to reach the
orbital outpost on Wednesday.
The mission is the second of eight station cargo runs by
Orbital Sciences under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.
Orbital Sciences made its first cargo run to the station in
January. It has not yet announced other customers for its
medium-lift Antares rocket, a two-stage booster that relies on
Russian-built AJ-26 engines to power its first stage.
Orbital Sciences named the Cygnus ship launched on Sunday
the SS Janice Voss, a tribute to Voss, a five-time shuttle
astronaut and former Orbital Sciences engineer who died of
breast cancer in 2012.
The capsule is expected to remain berthed at the space
station for about a month. Once unloaded, it will be filled with
garbage and items no longer needed by the station crew and
redirected into the atmosphere for incineration.
(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)