Orbital Sciences prepares its Cygnus capsule for its first flight to ISS, set for launch on September 17.


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The competition heats up: Orbital Sciences prepares its Cygnus capsule for its first flight to ISS, set for launch on September 17.

Orbital officials said the Cygnus spacecraft was scheduled to be attached to the upper stage of the Antares launcher Wednesday. Final cargo loading into the Cygnus spacecraft’s pressurized module is set for Saturday, followed by its enclosure inside the rocket’s 12.8-foot-diameter payload fairing.

Rollout of the Antares rocket from its horizontal integration facility to the launch pad one mile away is expected Sept. 13.

September will be a busy and important month for private space. We also will have SpaceX’s first commercial launch with its Falcon 9 rocket. If both are successful, the trend away from a big government space programs shall accelerate.

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