Orbital ATK eyes early October 2016 for Antares’ return to flight

Orbital ATK's Antares in the company's Horizontal Integration Facility at Wallops Island. Photo credit: Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK’s Antares in the company’s Horizontal Integration Facility at Wallops Island. Photo credit: Orbital ATK

It’s been nearly two years since Antares has taken flight, but Orbital ATK’s launcher may soon thunder from Launch Pad 0A at the Mid-AtlanticRegional Spaceport on Virginia’s Wallops Island. The company issued a news release indicating a targeted launch window of October 9-13, 2016 for the OA-5 mission to ferry supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) via their Cygnus spacecraft.

Sidelined after a failed turbopump caused the loss of the vehicle and payload shortly after launch for the Orb-3 mission on October 28, 2014, Orbital ATK had to source a replacement engine, and perform validation tests, prior to resuming launches.

Though no one was hurt in the launch mishap, extensive damage was caused to the launch pad and it destroyed the Cygnus spacecraft and the cargo intended for the ISS. Orbital ATK already had plans to replace that version of Antares, and the launch failure was an opportunity for the company to accelerate that development.

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