NASA, Orbital Sciences Hopes Antares Success Adds To Economy - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

NASA, Orbital Sciences Hopes Antares Success Adds To Economy

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Frank Culbertson, Senior VP, Orbital Sciences Frank Culbertson, Senior VP, Orbital Sciences
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WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. - It took five years of planning, two launch postponements this week and hundreds of millions of dollars.

But now, Orbital Sciences and NASA Wallops can finally launch the next chapter with the Antares rocket.  
     
Soon, the companies will begin delivering supplies to the International Space Station. Back at home, the hope to give a boost to the Accomack County economy.

On Twitter, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) says "#Antares marks new era for Spaceport Wallops, supporting jobs & innovation thx to partnership between fed & state agencies w private sector."

"The fact that we're bringing in more high tech and larger rockets will help encourage more industry to come into this area," said Frank Culbertson, Sr VP at Orbital Sciences.

In a recent economic impact report, NASA brings in nearly $400 million and 3,100 jobs. Businesses in Chincoteague await the next launch.            

"There's no doubt about it that this will bring some additional tourist dollars," said Lou Hinds, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Manager.

Hundreds of people from across the country flocked to Assateague to get a glimpse of Antares from the shoreline, according to Hinds. Dan and Raini Williams drove all the way from Helena, Mont. on a two-week, 5,000 mile vacation across the United States.

"We just got here kind of by accident," said Raini Williams. "We took a different route than we were planning and wanted to see the island. We didn't actually realize that it was going to be right here until we got here."

Hinds expects those number to skyrocket as the mission to ISS takes off the summer.

"You're putting the lunar mission that's going to be launched from here," said Hinds. "You get all those tourists coming out or the normal beach tourists and yeah, it's going to be an exciting summer."

NASA officials say more than $500 million has been spent on the Antares rocket missions. The new launch pad cost $140 million and Orbital Sciences spent an additional $300 million. Looking to the future, NASA and Orbital are hoping the launch to the International Space Station happens between June and July.

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