Orbital ATK aims for October 9-13 Antares launch


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Orbital ATK and NASA have now scheduled the first Antares/Cygnus launch since the rocket’s failure in October 2014 for no earlier than October 9.

Orbital ATK is targeting Oct. 9-13 for the launch of the company’s upgraded Antares 230 rocket. Liftoff will occur from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport to send the OA-5 Cygnus spacecraft, called S.S. Alan G. Poindexter, to the International Space Station (ISS). According to a news release from the company, a more specific date and time will be selected upon completion of final operational milestones and technical reviews. Launch times on these dates range from 10:47 p.m. EDT Oct. 9 to 9:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 13 (2:47 GMT Oct. 10 to 1:30 GMT Oct. 14).

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2 comments

  • wodun

    Imagine the outcry if SpaceX took two years to return to flight after an accident. How does Orbital ATK escape the criticism?

    Eric Berger is out there saying SpaceX might be incapable of sending things to space because of their constant changes to their rockets and yet Orbital ATK is taking two years to make changes to theirs.

  • wodun: Your comparison here is somewhat unfair. SpaceX only had to replace struts in its upper station built by a subcontractor below specifications. No redesign was necessary, as far as I am aware. Orbital ATK had to replace the main engines of its first stage, which not only required them to obtain the engines, but then fit them into the rocket and test them. This essentially is a major redesign of the Antares first stage. To get this redesign done in two years I think is actually quite reasonable.

    Nonetheless, I do agree that if SpaceX had had the same problem and took two years to fix it, they would have been much more heavily attacked. The attacks I think would have been unfair (assuming the fix required the same challenges as Orbital’s were), but they would have happened anyway, because, unlike Orbital ATK, SpaceX is trying to grab market share from a lot of other big players. Even now their knives are out, hoping quite rightly to carve up SpaceX’s business for themselves.

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