Space News reports that the first Antares launch will be delayed in 2013. The details of why are behind a pay wall, but Clark Lindsey says that the delay is linked to the need to clean up Wallops Island after Hurricane Sandy.
Between now and the first launch, Orbital Sciences Corporation says it plans “a series of three ‘wet dress rehearsals’ (fueling and defueling the rocket to test the launch complex’s systems) and a ‘hot fire’ test during which the rocket’s dual main engines will run at full thrust for about 30 seconds while the first stage is held down on the pad.”
The inaugural flight is scheduled to test out the engine. That mission will be followed by a test flight of the new Cygnus freigher, which is designed to deliver supplies and equipment to the International Space Station under NASA’s commercial cargo effort.