Orbital rocket partially created in Chandler successfully launches toward Space Station

Orbital rocket partially created in Chandler successfully launches toward Space Station

Along with delivering vital equipment, supplies and experiments to astronauts aboard the space station, a NanoRacks deployer will release Spire cubesats used for weather forecasting after Cygnus departs from the space station.

The first and second stage portion of the rocket separated about five minutes after the launch as planned, and the Cygnus cargo ship reached orbit shortly after, according to a live broadcast of the launch on NASA television.

Orbital ATK Antares blasted off from its Wallops Island, Virginia, launching pad Monday evening, marking a return for the Dulles-based space company that was bouncing back from a 2014 explosion of a rocket at the same location.

In December 2014, Orbital resumed cargo missions to space as part of a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.

An exuberant Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., tweeted his emoji-filled congratulations to NASA and Orbital ATK: "Whoohoo!"

Anyone with an interest in space travel has an opportunity tonight to watch the launch of a spacecraft from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Wallops Flight Facility.

"It's great to see the way people came together and made this happen", Frank Culberston, president of the space systems group at Orbital ATK, told CNN.

The Antares rocket, Cygnus spacecraft along with its payload were all destroyed in the accident.

Next up will be private flights for the station crews, as the space agency works on getting astronauts to Mars in the 2030s.

SpaceX's explosion was its second connected with its resupply mission contract with NASA.

This Russian mission will be taking three astronauts to the ISS.

Since the blast, the launchpad has been rebuilt at a cost of $15 million, and the rocket has been overhauled to be more powerful. Although it took longer to resume flights at Wallops than expected, he noted, "it was done right, and that was the most important thing".

SpaceX and Boeing are building capsules to carry US astronauts to the 250-mile-high station; those launches are expected in the next couple of years.

Cygnus was also carrying a new station research facility that will enable a new range of research experiments by allowing precise control of motion aboard the ISS. They will be joined by an American and two Russians.

The launch was scheduled for Sunday until a bad cable caused a delay.

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