The Opposite of War

Contrary to popular belief, the opposite of war is not peace, at least not if you're willing to stretch a pun beyond the breaking point. You see, Ares is the Greek god of war. Therefore, Antares must be the opposite of war, as the prefix 'ant' means just that.

OK, I'm being liberal with the English language, but that's why they invented it.

What does any of this have to do with astronomy? I'll tell you. The company Orbital is planning a test of its new Antares rocket. This rocket is a medium lifter, designed to handle around 5,000 kilograms. It will be a cargo rocket, and probably not suitable for human launches without modification. The rocket is two stage, which reduces complexity and therefore cost. A third stage is available as an option for higher altitudes, but this launch system is really designed to put stuff in Low Earth Orbit.

The rocket will be used to ferry stuff up to the International Space Station. At a cost of ~145 million dollars a launch, it works out to about $13,000 per pound, which is actually a good price for these sorts of things.

If you wanted to, you could schedule a launch and put your own satellite in orbit. That's awfully expensive entertainment though.

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