ATLANTIC, Va. (AP) -- A company contracted by NASA to deliver supplies to the International Space Station has successfully launched a rocket in a test of its ability to send a cargo ship aloft.
The unmanned Antares rocket blasted off Sunday from Wallops Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore. About 10 minutes after the launch, Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles declared the test a success after observing a practice payload reach orbit and safely separate from the rocket.
The suburban Washington, D.C., company is aiming to launch a rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo ship aloft this summer to dock with the station. If successful, Orbital aims to make the first of eight contracted deliveries in the fall.
NASA is using two companies to deliver space station supplies after ending its shuttle program in 2011. California-based SpaceX completed its third trip to the International Space Station last month.