OSC conducted a successful "hot fire" test of the Antares rocket in February.
Source: Orbital Sciences Corporation
NASA has given the approval for a private company to proceed with a test launch of a rocket that will eventually help carry cargo to the International Space Station.
Orbital Sciences Corporation had planned to launch its Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Va., on Wednesday, but it was scrubbed after a crucial data cable on the rocket's upper stage became disconnected. Launch has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday
When it does go up, the Antares rocket will be the largest to ever take off from Wallops Flight Facility. It's expected to be visible during the evening rush hour in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, as well as far away as South Carolina and parts if Maine.
For much of the WAMU listening area, the rocket will be visible to the southeast, about 10 degrees above the horizon. If you hold your fist out in front of you, 10 degrees is described as about one fist above the horizon.
The launch is still not, however, a foregone conclusion. NASA says that weather conditions must be ideal for the rocket to launch. The forecasts call for scattered thunderstorms on Friday with an 80 percent chance of precipitation. A decision will be made whether to go forward on Thursday evening.
If successful sending a practice payload into orbit, Orbital will send a cargo ship to dock with the International Space Station this summer on a test run, which could be the beginning of numerous cargo runs to the ISS.
With the end of the space shuttle program, the private space industry is filling in the gaps, and Wallops Island is fast becoming one of the focal points.