NASA OKs East Coast rocket test launch this week

NASA OKs unmanned rocket launch by a private company contracted to supply the space station

Associated Press

ATLANTIC, Va. (AP) -- A private company is planning a test launch Wednesday of a rocket intended to help eventual supply runs to the International Space Station, but officials warn weather could delay the effort.

Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles is set to launch its unmanned Antares rocket Wednesday from Wallops Island, Va., and it could be visible in cities from Washington to New York.

But NASA said Tuesday there's only a 45 percent chance weather conditions would allow a launch Wednesday. Orbital would try again Thursday if need be.

If successful in sending a practice payload into orbit, Orbital aims to send its cargo ship to dock with the International Space Station this summer on a test run.

Orbital and California-based SpaceX have contracted to make space station supply runs with NASA, which ended its shuttle program in 2011.

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