NASA OKs East Coast rocket test launch this week

NASA OKs East Coast rocket test launch this week
Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket is illuminated by lights as it sits on the launch pad at the NASA facility on Wallops Island Va., Tuesday April 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
ATLANTIC, Va. (AP) — NASA says a private company can conduct a test launch this week of an unmanned rocket intended to help eventual supply runs to the International Space Station.

Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles plans to launch its Antares rocket Wednesday from Wallops Island, Va., and it could be visible in cities from Washington to New York.

But NASA said Tuesday there's only a 45 percent chance weather conditions would allow a launch Wednesday. Orbital would try again Thursday if need be.

If successful in sending a practice payload into orbit, Orbital aims to send its cargo ship to dock with the International Space Station this summer on a test run.

Orbital and California-based SpaceX have contracted to make space station supply runs with NASA, which ended its shuttle program in 2011.