Orbital Sciences Rocket Launch Delayed After Cable Disconnects

The test launch of Orbital Sciences Corp. (ORB)’s new rocket has been called off after a cable disconnected.

The liftoff of the Antares rocket was scheduled for 5 p.m. Washington time from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

The launch “has been been scrubbed due to a premature separation of one of the umbilicals up there on the second stage of the Antares rocket,” a NASA TV announcer said.

The practice run was to be a key milestone in the Dulles, Virginia-based company’s plan to begin regular cargo deliveries to the International Space Station as early as September.

The test launch involves delivering a simulated version of the Cygnus unmanned supply ship to orbit. The replica won’t connect with the station.

Orbital is trying to match the success of billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., which last May became the first company to dock a commercial craft at the station.

Orbital has a $1.9 billion contract with NASA for eight cargo resupply flights to the space station.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nick Taborek in Washington at ntaborek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Stoughton at sstoughton@bloomberg.net

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