Orbital Sciences Delays Antares Rocket Launch Because of Winds

The test launch of Orbital Sciences Corp. (ORB)’s new rocket was called off again, this time due to wind.

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

It was pushed to 6:10 p.m. this afternoon and then called off for the day because of upper-level winds, Dulles, Virginia- based Orbital Sciences said in a Twitter posting.

“We will try again tomorrow,” the company wrote. The next launch attempt will be no earlier than 5 p.m. tomorrow.

A launch attempt on April 17 was scrubbed about 12 minutes before liftoff because a data cable prematurely disconnected from the rocket.

The Antares test launch would be a key milestone in the 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 following 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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