Orbital’s Antares Rocket Launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

A multitude of NASA research investigations, crew provisions, hardware and science experiments from across the country is headed to the International Space Station aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus spacecraft. The cargo craft launched aboard Orbital’s Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia at 12:52 p.m. EDT Sunday.

The mission is the company’s second cargo delivery flight to the station through a $1.9 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Orbital will fly at least eight cargo missions to the space station through 2016.

The Orbital-2 mission is carrying almost 3,300 pounds of supplies to the station, which will expand the research capability of the Expedition 40 crew members. Among the research investigations headed to the orbital laboratory are a flock of nanosatellites designed to take images of Earth, developed by Planet Labs of San Francisco; and a satellite-based investigation called TechEdSat-4 built by NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, which aims to develop technology that will eventually enable small samples to be returned to Earth from the space station.

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