Antares rocket arrives at launch pad


Posted: December 17, 2013

In a bid to preserve an opportunity to launch a cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station on Thursday, Orbital Sciences Corp. rolled an Antares rocket to its seaside launch pad in Virginia on Tuesday.

The one-mile trip from the Antares assembly hangar began before dawn. A self-propelled transporter carried the two-stage booster down a two-lane road south from the horizontal integration facility, then up the ramp to launch pad 0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

By about 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT), hydraulic pistons had lifted the 133-foot-tall rocket vertical on top of the pad's launch mount. Technicians planned to make final electrical and fluid connections between the rocket and the launch pad later Tuesday.

Launch is set for 9:19 p.m. EST Thursday (0219 GMT Friday), but NASA is still working to resolve an issue with one of two external coolant loops on the International Space Station.

See our Mission Status Center for live coverage of the launch.

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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