Redesigned Antares launch scheduled for Oct 13

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NASA and Orbital ATK have now set October 13 as the date for the first Antares launch in two years.

Though ISS is not short of supplies, this quote underlines the difficulty of the particular situation now.

While the space station has plenty of food, water, experiments and other provisions, NASA officials are eager for the Antares rocket to resume flights as all of the research outpost’s other servicing vehicles are facing delays.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which launches the company’s Dragon cargo craft, is grounded after a launch pad explosion Sept. 1, and Dragon resupply missions to the space station may not start up again until early next year.

The Japanese HTV cargo freighter was supposed to blast off Sept. 30 with several tons of supplies, including new lithium-ion batteries for the space station’s electrical system. But that launch has been delayed until at least December after Japanese engineers discovered a leak during an air tightness test in August.

And a Soyuz crew capsule that was supposed to launch Sept. 23 with three new space station residents will not lift off until at least Oct. 19 after Russian workers discovered a technical problem on the vehicle. The Soyuz delay will likely push back the launch of Russia’s next unpiloted Progress cargo freighter from Oct. 20 until late November or early December.

Even with numerous redundent methods for hauling cargo to ISS, it is still possible for them all to have problems all at once.

One comment

  • Localfluff

    They say that a rocket is designed around its engines, so it is interesting that they switch engines. The RD-191 is a derivative from NK-33, but over a couple of generations and half a century. The physical dimensions are different. Diameter 1½ vs 2 meter, weight 2.2 vs 1.2 ton, length 4 vs 3.7 meter. The newer motor is much more compact per weight. 25% higher thrust probably affects many things in the rocket. I wonder if something similar has been done historically. Virgin Galactings attempt to scale up its composite motor led to problems and reduced specs.

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