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Orbital Sets Mid-April Date for Antares Maiden Launch

Orbital Sciences Antares rocket on the launch pad at Wallops. Credit: Orbital Sciences

The maiden flight of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares cargo rocket is targeted for mid-April, a company spokesman said.

Antares’ official launch date is “[n]o earlier than April 16, with a targeted date range of April 16-18,” Orbital spokesman Barron Beneski wrote in a March 15 email. Foul weather the week of March 4 helped push Antares’ debut from early to mid-April, Beneski said.

An Antares core stage was test fired Feb. 22 at the company’s Wallops Island, Va., launch pad.

Orbital needs to complete post-test inspections before clearing the pad to receive the flight-ready Antares.

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