WALLOPS ISLAND, Va., April 22 (UPI) -- A U.S. commercial partner of NASA launched a rocket into space carrying a so-called mass simulated payload.
NASA said the launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket and payload from a flight facility in Virginia Sunday was part of the effort to rely on U.S. companies for future launches of supplies and personnel to the International Space Station.
"Today's successful test marks another significant milestone in NASA's plan to rely on American companies to launch supplies and astronauts to the International Space Station, bringing this important work back to the United States where it belongs," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.
"Congratulations to Orbital Sciences and the NASA team that worked alongside them for the picture-perfect launch of the Antares rocket.
"In addition to providing further evidence that our strategic space exploration plan is moving forward, this test also inaugurates America's newest spaceport capable of launching to the space station, opening up additional opportunities for commercial and government users."
The completed flight paves the way for a demonstration mission by Orbital to resupply the space station later this year, NASA said.