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WASHINGTON -- Orbital Sciences Corp. (IW 500/446) today launched its unmanned Cygnus cargo ship on the company's first regular supply mission to the International Space Station.
The liftoff of the Antares rocket carrying the ship took place at 1:07 pm from Wallops Island in Virginia, according to footage carried by NASA's television network.
"It is a beautiful launch occurring on time with perfect weather," a NASA commentator said.
The cargo vehicle separated from the rocket's second stage 10 minutes after the launch as planned.
Cygnus is due to dock at the International Space Station on Sunday, only the fifth mooring of a private vessel to the station. The first was California company SpaceX's (IW 500/) Dragon in May 2012.
Orbital has a contract with NASA worth $1.9 billion for eight cargo resupply missions to the global space lab.