Thursday, October 20, 2011

Orbital delays Taurus II test flight

The first test flight of a Taurus II rocket from Virginia has slipped from late this year to early next year while the state works to complete a launch pad, Orbital Sciences Corp. announced today.

The Taurus II is being developed to launch cargo to the International Space Station under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.

The delay means the first full demonstration flight of the rocket and Cygnus spacecraft for NASA, and the first operational shipment of cargo to the station, both will be pushed back by roughly a few months.

The first cargo shipment could fly next summer, according to the Orbital's latest projections. Check out the tentative timeline here.

SpaceX, NASA's other contracted commercial cargo provider, plans a second demonstration flight of its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft in January and a cargo delivery in the spring.

IMAGE: Artist's rendering of a Taurus II rocket launching from Wallops Island, Va. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.

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