The Antares rocket as it launches from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia
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Orbital's Antares rocket makes test flight

A new rocket which could be used to service the International Space Station (ISS) has blasted off successfully from a facility in the US state of Virginia.

The 40m-tall Antares vehicle lifted off from the Wallops Flight Facility at 1700 local time (2100 GMT) and released a test mass into orbit.

The apparently flawless ascent should lead to it being allowed to propel an unmanned cargo ship towards the ISS later this year.