ULA Rocket Chosen to Take Supplies to International Space Station

The rocket that was to resupply the International Space Station blew up after liftoff from Wallops Island, Va. | Oct. 28, 2014: The Orbital Sciences rocket rose a short distance from the launch pad and then exploded in a ball of orange flame at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jay Diem/Eastern Shore News via Associated Press)

Orbital Sciences has selected United Launch Alliance’s rocket to ferry its Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station, two months after the Dulles satellite company’s own rocket exploded seconds after take-off due to engine problems.

The company will use ULA’s Atlas V rocket to launch its next mission, scheduled for late next year, Orbital said Tuesday. ULA — a veteran NASA contractor — is a joint venture of aerospace giants Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

“The Atlas rocket’s greater lift capacity will allow Cygnus to carry nearly 35 percent more cargo… than previously planned,” Orbital said in a statement on its Web site.

Orbital has five missions left in a $1.9 billion NASA contract to resupply the orbiting space lab through 2016. The company had to cut down on one mission after the explosion. To compensate, Cygnus will carry increased payloads.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post
Amrita Jayakumar