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NASA To Test Launch Antares Rocket

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The Antares Rocket stands 133 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter.
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
The Antares Rocket stands 133 feet tall and 13 feet in diameter.

A small NASA facility on one of Virginia's barrier islands is preparing to be thrust into the spotlight. Orbital Sciences plans to test launch its Antares rocket on Wednesday from Wallops Island, in Virginia.

Orbital is one of two companies chosen to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. If all goes as planned, the unmanned rocket's practice payload will be vaulted into orbit after about 10 minutes, and then it will burn up in the atmosphere on its return to Earth several months later.

With the test flight, Wallops Flight Facility will make its public transition from a little-known launch pad for small research rockets to a major player in the U.S. space program.

If successful, Orbital will dock a cargo ship with the space station this summer.

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