In Brief

Private Cargo Ship Launch Delayed by Rocket Engine Investigation

Rick Mastracchio: View of Cygnus Through ISS Porthole
Through a porthole in the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio caught this view of Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus cargo spacecraft departing Feb. 18, over the Middle East. (Image credit: Rick Mastracchio)

The private spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corp. has delayed the launch of its second robotic resupply mission to the International Space Station to fully investigate a malfunction that caused the failure of a rocket engine on a launch pad last week.

An AJ26 engine that was expected to help launch the company's Antares rocket to space in 2015 failed on a test stand at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on May 22. Because of the malfunction, Orbital Sciences representatives have decided to postpone the launch of the company's unmanned Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket scheduled for June 10. The mission will not launch to the space station before June 17.

Orbital Sciences holds a $1.9 billion contract with NASA to fly eight unmanned missions using the company's Cygnus spacecraft and Antares rocket to deliver supplies to the orbiting outpost. The company's first contracted mission to the space station occurred in January 2014.

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.