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  Orbital Sciences' Antares hotfire engine test

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Author Topic:   Orbital Sciences' Antares hotfire engine test
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-12-2013 12:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Wallops Flight Facility release
Antares Engine Test Scheduled for February 13

NASA's Wallops Flight Facility will provide launch range support for an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket engine test scheduled for Feb. 13 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad-0A.

The window for the engine test, or hot fire, is 6-9 p.m. EST.

The test will fire the Antares' dual AJ26 rocket engines, which will generate a combined total thrust of 680,000 lbs., for about 30 seconds while the first stage of the test rocket will be held down on the pad. The hot fire will demonstrate the readiness of the rocket's first stage and launch pad fueling systems to support upcoming flights.

The test will be visible and audible in the Wallops Island local area. Given the broad window and non-operational nature of the test, no live webcast or formal public viewing is planned. NASA's Wallops Flight Facility will provide range support for the hot fire, including communications, data collection, range safety and area clearance.

The test is a key milestone leading up to the first flight of the Antares rocket, which is preliminary scheduled for about four to six weeks following the completion of the engine test.

Orbital is building and testing its new rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. NASA initiatives like COTS are helping develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.

A demonstration flight of Antares and Cygnus to the space station is planned for later this year. Following the successful completion of the COTS demonstration mission to the station, Orbital will begin regular cargo resupply flights to the orbiting laboratory through NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.

The launch pad is the first of its kind constructed in the United States in decades. Preparations at the pad for the hot fire test were enabled through partnership between the Spaceport, Orbital and NASA, including representatives from Wallops; NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss.; NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida; NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Hunstville, Ala.; and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-13-2013 06:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Antares Engine Test Aborted; New Date TBD

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.

The test hot fire test is being conducted at Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia. The major objectives of the hot fire test are to verify the that pad's fueling systems and the Antares stage one test article functioned properly in a fully operational environment, that engine ignition and shut down commands operated as designed, and that the dual AJ26 first stage engines performed to specifications in the twin-engine configuration.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-14-2013 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences update
Antares "Hot Fire" Test Update

After a preliminary overnight review of the data from the hot fire test attempt on February 13, Orbital's Antares team has identified low pressurization levels of a "nitrogen purge" of the aft engine compartment as the reason the Antares flight computer, acting as designed, aborted the test with about 1.5 seconds left in the countdown. All other aspects of the countdown procedure, from the ground fueling system of the MARS launch complex to the Stage 1 test article, performed nominally.

Orbital's Antares team expects to perform another test before the end of February, with an exact date for the test still to be determined.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-22-2013 12:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Wallops Flight Facility release
Antares Engine Test Scheduled for Feb. 22

NASA's Wallops Flight Facility will provide launch range support for an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket engine test scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad-0A.

The window for the engine test, or hot fire, is 6 to 9 p.m. EST (2300 to 0200 GMT).

The test will fire the Antares' dual AJ26 rocket engines, which will generate a combined total thrust of 680,000 lbs., for about 30 seconds while the first stage of the test rocket will be held down on the pad. The hot fire will demonstrate the readiness of the rocket's first stage and launch pad fueling systems to support upcoming flights.

The test will be visible and audible in the Wallops Island local area. Given the broad window and non-operational nature of the test, no live webcast or formal public viewing is planned. NASA's Wallops Flight Facility will provide range support for the hot fire, including communications, data collection, range safety and area clearance.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-22-2013 08:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Partner Orbital Tests Rocket, Newest U.S. Launch Pad

NASA commercial partner Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., successfully conducted an engine test of its Antares rocket Friday at the nation's newest launch pad.

The company fired dual AJ26 rocket engines for the full duration 29 seconds while the rocket was bolted down on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Known as a "hot fire" test, it demonstrated the readiness of the rocket's first stage and launch pad fueling systems to support upcoming test flights.

"This pad test is an important reminder of how strong and diverse the commercial space industry is in our nation," said Phil McAlister, director of Commercial Spaceflight Development at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "A little more than one year after the retirement of the space shuttle, we had a U.S company resupplying the International Space Station. Now, another is taking the next critical steps to launch from America's newest gateway to low-Earth Orbit. Today marks significant progress for Orbital, MARS and the NASA team."

Orbital is building and testing its new rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft under NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. A demonstration flight of Antares and Cygnus to the space station is planned for later this year. After the successful completion of the COTS demonstration mission to the station, Orbital will begin conducting eight planned cargo resupply flights to the orbiting laboratory through NASA's $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with the company.

Wallops, which has launched more than 16,000 rockets in its 67-year history, provided launch range support for the hot-fire test, including communications, data collection, range safety and area clearance.

NASA initiatives like COTS are helping to develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit. NASA's Commercial Crew Program also is working with commercial space partners to develop capabilities to launch U.S. astronauts from American soil in the next few years.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-23-2013 09:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Orbital Sciences release (Feb. 22, 2013)
Orbital Successfully Conducts First Stage "Hot Fire" Test of Antares Space Launch Vehicle

Orbital Sciences Corporation, one of the world's leading space technology companies, today announced it successfully conducted an extended-duration "hot fire" test of the first stage propulsion system of its new Antares medium-class rocket. Developed over a four-plus-year period, Antares will be used to launch cargo supply missions to the International Space Station as part of a $1.9 billion contract with NASA.

The 29-second hot fire test took place at 6:00 p.m. (EST) on February 22, 2013 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's (MARS) Pad 0A, which was designed and built over the last several years to accommodate liquid-fuel space launch vehicles. The primary goals of the test were to ensure that the launch complex's fueling systems and the Antares stage one test article functioned properly in a fully operational environment, that engine ignition and shut down commands operated as designed, and that the dual AJ26 first stage engines and their control systems performed to specifications in the twin-engine configuration. The test included a full propellant loading sequence, launch countdown and engine ignition operation. The pad's high-volume water deluge system flowed throughout the entire period of the test to protect the pad from damage and for noise suppression.

"Our initial assessment of the test data shows that we were successful in achieving each of the primary objectives we had hoped to accomplish going into the test," said Mr. Mike Pinkston, Orbital's Antares Program Manager. "We will now turn our attention to the next major milestone for the Antares program, which is the inaugural flight of the rocket. I know that I speak for the entire Antares team when I say we are beyond excited to know that our newest rocket will take to the skies in just a matter of weeks."

With the hot fire test complete, Orbital will purge and clean the engines of residual propellants and return the first stage test unit to the vehicle integration facility for full reconditioning. Shortly after completing pad and fueling systems post-test inspections and performing any necessary reconditioning work, Orbital will roll out the first complete two-stage Antares rocket to prepare it for the test flight, which is expected to take place in approximately six weeks.

Orbital is scheduled to conduct two launches under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Space Act Agreement with NASA in 2013. In addition, the company will launch eight operational cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) using Antares vehicles from late 2013 through 2016 under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract with NASA. The COTS and CRS flights will launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia, which is ideally suited for ISS missions, and can also accommodate launches to other orbits. In addition, Orbital is currently evaluating its options for development of a west coast launch site that would enable the Antares rocket to address an even wider range of customer missions.

The Antares medium-class launch system will provide a significant increase in the payload launch capability that Orbital can provide to NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other customers. The Antares rocket will be able to launch up to 14,000 lbs. into low-Earth orbit, as well as lighter-weight payloads into higher-energy orbits. Orbital's newest launcher is currently on-ramped to both the NASA Launch Services-2 and the U.S. Air Force's Orbital/Suborbital-3 contracts, enabling the two largest U.S. government space launch customers to order Antares for "right-size and right-price" launch services for medium-class spacecraft.

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