A new commercial U.S. spacecraft is set to make its first flight to the International Space Station this September, paving the way for regular cargo deliveries to the orbiting laboratory.
The Dulles, Va.-based spaceflight company Orbital Sciences announced a planned launch window of between Sept. 14 and 19 to send its first cargo ship Cygnus spacecraft on a demonstration flight to the space station from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. The mission will launch on Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, which made its first test flight in April.
Orbital was awarded a $1.9 billion NASA contract to provide at least eight resupply flights to the station using Antares and Cygnus. If September's demonstration is successful, the first of these fully operational trips should take place by the end of the year, Orbital said in a statement.