Spaceflight Now Home





Mission Reports




For 12 years, Spaceflight Now has been providing unrivaled coverage of U.S. space launches. Comprehensive reports and voluminous amounts of video are available in our archives.
Space Shuttle
Atlas | Delta | Pegasus
Minotaur | Taurus | Falcon
Titan



NewsAlert



Sign up for our NewsAlert service and have the latest space news e-mailed direct to your desktop.

Enter your e-mail address:

Privacy note: your e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose.



Advertisement






Space Books






Antares rocket tests halted by Hurricane Sandy
BY STEPHEN CLARK
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: October 26, 2012


Threats of high winds and flooding from Hurricane Sandy are forcing Orbital Sciences Corp. to suspend tests of its Antares rocket and secure facilities at a coastal launch site in Virginia, a spokesperson said Friday.


The first stage of the Antares rocket was moved to the launch pad Oct. 1. Credit: NASA
 
The Antares rocket's first stage was moved Oct. 1 to the launch pad at Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore for several weeks of testing, fueling exercises and an engine hotfire ahead of the new launcher's first liftoff.

According to Barron Beneski, an Orbital spokesperson, workers at the coastal launch site are sealing doors on the Antares horizontal integration facility and closing access doors, disconnecting propellant lines, and safing systems on the rocket's first stage on launch pad 0A at Wallops.

The Antares first stage, designed by Yuzhnoye and built by Yuzhmash in Ukraine, will remain on the launch pad, Beneski said Friday.

Parts for two more Antares rockets are housed inside Orbital's hangar about one mile from the pad.

As of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), Hurricane Sandy was centered about 30 miles east-northeast of Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas. The 2 p.m. EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and was moving north at 7 mph.

The forecast calls for Hurricane Sandy to make landfall between Virginia and New York on Monday or Tuesday.

The Antares processing infrastructure weathered Hurricane Irene in 2011 with little effect.

"We've had practice at this, but there is a new wrinkle in that we have an Antares first stage on the pad now," Beneski said.

Engineers planned to load propellant into the Antares first stage as soon as this week, but Hurricane Sandy will delay the rocket's test schedule by at least several days.

After the hurricane passes, workers will resume Antares testing ahead of a 30-second firing of the first stage's two AJ26 engines.

Several propellant loading, or cold flow, tests are planned before the hotfire to demonstrate the launch pad's fueling systems and rehearse countdown procedures.

Once the first stage tests are completed, Orbital will swap the vehicle for a full-up Antares rocket for a demonstration flight.

Orbital Sciences aims to conduct the first test launch of the Antares rocket before the end of 2012. The company is developing the two-stage vehicle and a robotic cargo freighter to deliver supplies to the International Space Station under a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.

John Glenn Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The historic first orbital flight by an American is marked by this commemorative patch for John Glenn and Friendship 7.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Final Shuttle Mission Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is available in our store. Get this piece of history!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Celebrate the shuttle program

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This special commemorative patch marks the retirement of NASA's Space Shuttle Program. Available in our store!
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Anniversary Shuttle Patch

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!

This embroidered patch commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Program. The design features the space shuttle Columbia's historic maiden flight of April 12, 1981.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Mercury anniversary

Free shipping to U.S. addresses!


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alan Shephard's historic Mercury mission with this collectors' item, the official commemorative embroidered patch.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

Fallen Heroes Patch Collection
The official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store.
 U.S. STORE
 WORLDWIDE STORE

INDEX | PLUS | NEWS ARCHIVE | LAUNCH SCHEDULE
ASTRONOMY NOW | STORE

ADVERTISE

© 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.