Friday, May 23, 2014

Nobody hurt in AJ-26 test failure

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. -- An AJ-26 rocket engine used to power Orbital Sciences' Antares launch vehicle failed during hot fire testing Thursday in South Mississippi. The Aerojet Rocketdyne engine, a modified version of the Russian-built NK-33, is fueled with a liquid oxygen kerosene. The publication NASAspaceflight quoted sources and saying the engine was being tested at the E-complex when it exploded halfway through the test, but nobody was injured. Orbital Sciences has already had multiple successful launches of the Antares, which lifts the cargo vehicle Cygnus on supply missions to the International Space Station. Back in 2011, another AJ-26 engine being tested at Stennis Space Center failed and was damaged by fire. The test stand itself suffered only minor damage. (Sources: NASAspaceflight, Sun Herald, Spaceflight Now, 05/23/14) Previous: AJ-26 testing continues; Fire damaged engine