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The Commercial Space = Antares Rocket + SpaceX Dragon Capsule..!

The Commercial Space is becoming real today with the scheduled launch of the first Antares rocket:

Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares Rocket

NASA’s commercial partner, Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Va., is scheduled to launch its first Antares rocket from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Wednesday, April 17. Orbital managers held a Launch Readiness Review Monday afternoon and gave a “go” to proceed toward launch, pending the outcome of a Wallops Range Authority to Proceed meeting scheduled for Tuesday. Liftoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. with a launch window that runs until 8 p.m. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 4 p.m. EDT.
There is a 45 percent chance of favorable weather at the time of launch. Low clouds are the primary concern for a weather violation. If needed, back-up launch opportunities are available April 18-21. In advance of the launch, NASA hosted a media briefing to discuss the Wallops Flight Facility, Orbital’s activities under NASA’s commercial space initiatives, and the new Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A.

ommercial Space Antares Rocket 1

On the other hand, the development of the Antares rocket, wasn’t an easy thing, as it started in 2008:

It’s been a long road for the private cargo-launching Antares rocket, which is … –

Aerospace firm Orbital Sciences Corp. began developing Antares in earnest in 2008, when the company scored a NASA contract to fly robotic cargo missions to the International Space Station. Five years later, after a name change and a series of delays, the rocket is now ready to blast off Wednesday (April 17) afternoon from a newly refurbished launchpad at Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). “We’ve worked really hard over the last several years to go develop this new launch vehicle and a new launch site,” said Mark Pieczynski, vice president of business development for Orbital’s launch systems group. “We’ve got a great deal of confidence that our launch vehicle and the launch site are both ready to demonstrate their capabilities.” The NASA contract pays Orbital $1.9 billion to make eight unmanned supply flights to the space station using Antares and a spacecraft called Cygnus. The agency also signed a $1.6 billion deal with California-based SpaceX for 12 missions with its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket. Dragon has already completed two of those contracted supply runs, delivering cargo on flights in October 2012 and this past March. Dragon also successfully rendezvoused with the orbiting lab in May 2012 on a demonstration mission.

More importantly, the completion of Dragon spacecraft’s second cargo flight was a milestone:

Dragon spacecraft returns critical science to Earth – Astronomy Magazine

The Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft successfully completed the company’s second cargo flight to the International Space Station on March 26, with a 12:36 p.m. EDT splashdown in the Pacific Ocean a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico.
“The scientific research delivered and being returned by Dragon enables advances in every aspect of NASA’s diverse space station science portfolio, including human research, biology, and physical sciences,” said Julie Robinson, International Space Station program scientist. “There are more than 200 active investigations underway aboard our orbiting laboratory in space. The scientific community has eagerly awaited the return of today’s Dragon to see what new insights the returned samples and investigations it carries will unveil.” Science being conducted aboard the space station includes research on physical and biological processes that cannot be done anywhere else, applied research to improve lives on Earth, and exploration research to help humans move safely beyond Earth orbit.

Finally, the commercialization of space in times of global economic crisis can offer new investment opportunities out of Earth’s globalized economy and can also operate as its commercial “extension.”

The Commercial Space, is real…

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