Wallops Flight, we have lift off. Photo: Reuters

Orbital ATK blasted off its revamped Antares rocket carrying supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station, two years after a major rocket explosion.

The unmanned Cygnus cargo ship launched from Wallops Island, Virginia on Monday evening, packed with some 2,300 kilograms of gear bound for the station’s astronauts.

The rocket’s first and second stage portions separated about five minutes after the launch as planned, and the Cygnus cargo ship reached orbit shortly after, according to a live broadcast of the launch on NASA television.

The Orbital ATK Antares, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, sits on the launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Photo: AFP/ (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

An Antares rocket exploded in October 2014 just seconds after liftoff, causing some $200 million in damage and lost equipment.

The company blamed the accident on a flaw in the rocket’s engines, designed four decades ago in the Soviet Union.

The new Antares 230 uses a different and more powerful engine.

Orbital ATK resumed cargo missions to the International Space Station in December 2014 using a different rocket, the Atlas V made by United Launch Alliance.

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