The hot fire test of the Antares first stage tonight was aborted at the last second.

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The hot fire test of the Antares first stage tonight was aborted at the last second.

The planned first stage propulsion system “hot fire” test of Orbital’s new Antares medium-class rocket was halted in the final seconds of the countdown by the rocket’s flight computer, which detected an anomalous condition. The Antares team will evaluate the data from the test to determine the nature of the abort. A new date for the test has not been determined.

With any new rocket this kind of thing is to be expected. The concern here is the tight schedule that Orbital Sciences is under to get Antares and Cygnus operational. Long delays will not be good for them, considering the politics in Congress. Every delay will be used by certain politicians to get this program cut so the money can go to the very expensive Space Launch System that feeds the jobs in their districts.

Update: It appears the issue was that the computer detected a low pressure reading and aborted the burn. (A similar issue occurred on several of SpaceX’s early launches as was very quickly corrected.) A rescheduled hot burn is expected to take place next week.


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