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Orbital Sciences has once again delayed its first launch of Antares, the rocket that will lift its Cygnus cargo capsule to ISS.
A hold-down test of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket, a prerequisite for the launch vehicle’s maiden flight, likely will not be completed before April because of ongoing tests and certification work on the vehicle’s launch pad at Wallops Island, Va., a launch official said.
As much as I am a fan of these private companies (Orbital and SpaceX), I also recognize the great risks. Both companies are building new rockets and capsules, and have many enemies. If they fail, those enemies will jump on their effort like sharks, ready to shut them down and move all government funding to NASA’s big heavy-lift program. Thus, they have to succeed. Better to delay and get things right then hurry and have them blow up in everyone’s face.