Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Orbital: Antares ditching AJ26?

Orbital Sciences Corp. has decided it will likely discontinue using the Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 engine to power future Antares space launch vehicles. The company said today that preliminary review of the date from last week's explosion of an Antares rocket after liftoff from Wallops Island, Va., indicates a probable turbopump-related failure in one of the two AJ26 engine. Orbital said it still plans to fulfill its contract commitments to NASA to resupply the International Space Station through one or two non-Antares launches of the company's Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the ISS in 2015-2016. Orbital Sciences said it plans an early introduction of a previously selected Antares engine upgrade in 2016. (Source: Orbital Sciences via Business Wire, 11/05/14) Gulf Coast note: Aerojet tests the AJ26 engine at Stennis Space Center, Miss. Previous