Orbital resets Cygnus launch to Friday (weather permitting)

Antares Cygnus launch

An Antares rocket lifts off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Virginia, on January 9, 2014. (credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

After more than a month of delays caused by a problem during an engine test, Orbital confirmed late last week it would go ahead with plans to launch its next cargo mission to the International Space Station on July 11. Launch of the Cygnus spacecraft on an Antares rocket is scheduled for 1:40 pm EDT (1740 GMT) July 11 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. The launch had been delayed since early June after an AJ26 engine, which powers the Antares first stage, suffered an unspecified failure during a test firing at the Stennis Space Center. That particular engine was planned for use on a future Antares mission, and Orbital said inspections of the AJ26 engines on this Antares have been competed and cleared the vehicle for flight.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to launch is now the weather. The extended forecast for Wallops Island calls for isolated thunderstorms starting Wednesday through the weekend, with a 30% chance of storms each day.

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