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2nd Private Company Rockets Toward Space Station

Wed, 09/18/2013 - 9:53am
Marcia Dunn, AP Aerospace Writer

A Virginia company is on its way to the International Space Station, doubling the number of commercial suppliers.

Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its first-ever cargo ship Wednesday morning from Virginia. The capsule, named Cygnus, is due at the space station on Sunday, following four days of testing.

It's only the second private business to attempt a shipment like this. The California-based SpaceX company has been delivering station cargo for more than a year under a NASA contract.

The Cygnus capsule contains 1,300 pounds of food, clothing and goodies for the astronauts — nothing too valuable given this is a test flight.

Orbital Sciences' unmanned Antares rocket blasted off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. It's the second major launch from Wallops this month. A NASA moonshot occurred Sept. 6.

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