NASA fans got an eyeful Sunday as the Antares rocket successfully vaulted a cargo spacecraft toward the International Space Station.
Orbital Science Corp.'s booster blasted off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on the Eastern Shore at 12:52 p.m. with a Cygnus space freighter stuffed with about 3,300 pounds of provisions, spare parts and science experiments for space station astronauts.
This will be Orbital's second commercial resupply mission to the ISS. The launch has been postponed several times for a range of reasons since its initial schedule in May.
Among the science payload are small, free-flying, robot prototypes equipped with smartphones that could eventually be used to monitor environmental factors, and a cubesat spacecraft that will test an exo-braking device that could return small samples from the space station to Earth or land nanosatellite missions on Mars.
The spacecraft will bring to American astronaut and Cockeysville native Reid Wiseman who is stationed on the International Space Station for the next four months.
The Cygnus is expected to berth with the space station at 6:37 a.m. Wednesday.