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  Orbital Antares AJ26 engine suffers test mishap

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Author Topic:   Orbital Antares AJ26 engine suffers test mishap
Robert Pearlman

Posts: 29660
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-23-2014 05:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On Thursday (May 22), an AJ26 engine slated to fly in 2015 on an Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket suffered a test mishap. An Aerojet Rocketdyne spokesperson issued the following statement:
During hot-fire testing earlier today at NASA's Stennis Space Center, Aerojet Rocketdyne's AJ26 engine experienced a test anomaly. There were no injuries. The company is leading an investigation to determine the cause.
How this mishap may affect upcoming Antares flights this year, if at all, is unknown, Orbital Sciences told Spaceflight Now.
Officials said the AJ26 engine that failed Thursday suffered the anomaly about 30 seconds into a planned 54-second test. The engine test terminated prematurely, resulting in extensive damage to the engine.

A team of NASA, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Orbital Sciences and Lockheed Martin engineers put each AJ26 engine through acceptance testing on the E-1 test stand at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi before delivering the engines to the Antares launch site on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Engines for the next two Antares launches, currently scheduled for June 10 and early October, have finished acceptance testing and are ready for flight. But officials said Thursday it was too soon to tell whether the launches would be delayed in the aftermath of the engine mishap at Stennis.

The AJ26 is an American modified Soviet-era NK-33 engine, originally built for use with Russia's N-1 moon rocket. Aerojet purchased 43 NK-33 engines from Russia's Kuznetsov Design Bureau in the 1990s to integrate on U.S. rockets.

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