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NASA's 'Biggest Show' Roars Back After Explosion

NASA's 'Biggest Show' Roars Back After Explosion

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First Posted: Oct 19, 2016 05:55 AM EDT
Antare's launch at Wallops
In this handout provided by NASA, the Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on October 17, 2016 in Wallops Island, Virginia. Orbital ATK's sixth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station is delivering over 5,100 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew.
(Photo : Bill Ingalls/NASA / Handout)

Antare returned to the skies over Virginia's coast on Monday night at 7.45 p.m. which was 5 minutes later than the scheduled departure. Antare is believed to be NASA's 'biggest show' and the successful launch of the rocket proved that it's back at Wallops Flight Facility.

Approximately 2-years-ago, an Orbital ATK rocket took off from Wallops' Pad 0A but the flight ended just seconds after the takeoff due to a fierce explosion that shook the entire mission as well as the notion that private sector is capable of fulfilling space missions, according to Delmarva NowMonday's flight had been awaited since a long time now. NASA had delayed the takeoff five times since May. It was postponed twice last week due to tropical weather and further delayed from Sunday to Monday due to a minor fault in a cable on the launch pad.

"It's been two years of really hard work," stated Frank Culbertson, the president of Orbital's space systems group. "I think just getting through all the preparations, rehearsals, and testing takes a lot of time. We had to be very, very confident it was all going to work."

Antare is a 139-feet-tall space carrier powered by new, well built engines. It carried more than 5,000 pounds of scientific gear and supplies on the first leg of its journey to the International Space Station (ISS). This has been the heaviest payload ever to be lifted off from Wallops in its history of 71 years.

For all the pomp and show, Antare had a brief role. The spacecraft, Cyngus, that was embedded inside the rocket slipped away as designed nine minutes after the rocket took off. Cyngus is supposed to carry the load for the rest of the way to ISS, arriving on October 23, according to 13NewsNow.

Orbital, a private space organization based in Dulles, Virginia and SpaceX, Elon Musk's company have been engaged by NASA to conduct these resupply missions. However, the $1.9 billion program by Orbital had come to halt on October 28, 2014, when the rocket Antare exploded within seconds of its take off at Wallops.

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