The Antares rocket

Powered by engines originally developed for Russia's moon program, Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket notched an apparently flawless maiden flight on Sunday after launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The 600,000-pound rocket soared into the sky at 5 pm, burning liquid oxygen and kerosene fuel as it climbed toward orbit, where it released a simulated cargo vessel. The flight paves the way for Antares supply missions to the International Space Station, expected to begin in June or July.

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Photo by: Orbital Sciences / Caption by:

First stage separation

With Earth in the background, the rocket's first stage falls away around four minutes after launch.
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Photo by: Video scfreenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET / Caption by:

Second stage flight

The Antares second-stage solid-fuel motor propelled the vehicle before deploying the mockup Cygnus resupply spacecraft.
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Photo by: Video scfreenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET / Caption by:

Moving the first stage

The Antares first stage is rolled out at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility prior to hot-fire testing.
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Photo by: NASA / Caption by:

Cygnus Mass Simulator

This 8,300-pound instrumented mockup of the Cygnus cargo ship was launched about 10 minutes after liftoff at an altitude of 158 miles. Its successful launch into orbit triggered applause in the mission control room.
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Photo by: Orbital Sciences / Caption by:

Cygnus cargo ship

This illustration shows the unmanned Cygnus resupply spacecraft approaching the International Space Station with its solar arrays deployed. It can carry nearly 6,000 pounds of cargo.
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Photo by: Orbital Sciences / Caption by:
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