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Antares "Hot Fire" Engine Test

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Antares Engine Test Scheduled for February 13

UPDATE: The engine test for Orbital Sciences Antares rocket on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s pad-0A at NASA Wallops Flight Facility has been rescheduled for 6 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13.

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – NASA's Wallops Flight Facility will provide launch range support for an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket engine test scheduled for Feb. 12 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.

For more information about Orbital Sciences Corp. and the Antares rocket, visit: http://www.orbital.com/SpaceLaunch/Antares/

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Antares Engine Test Aborted; New Date TBD

2/14/13 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.

2/13/13 UPDATE: 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.

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Antares Engine Test Scheduled for Feb. 22

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – 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- 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.

For more information about Orbital Sciences Corp. and the Antares rocket, visit: http://www.orbital.com/SpaceLaunch/Antare

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Antares Engine Test

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NASA commercial partner Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., successfully conducted an engine test of its Antares rocket Friday, Feb. 22, from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Va. The company fired dual AJ26 rocket engines for approximately 30 seconds while the rocket was bolted down on the pad. 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. Credit: NASA

Video of the hot fire test of the Antares rocket at Wallops Flight Facility on Feb. 22, 2013. Credit: NASA

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. -- NASA commercial partner Orbital Sciences of Dulles, Va., successfully conducted an engine test of its Antares rocket Friday, February 22, at the nation's newest launch pad.

The company fired dual AJ26 rocket engines for approximately 30 seconds while the first stage of Orbital's Antares rocket was held down on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. The test 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 space station, and another is now 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. Following the successful completion of the COTS demonstration mission to the station, Orbital will begin conducting eight planed 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 develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the space station and low-Earth orbit. In parallel, NASA's Commercial Crew Program is working with commercial space partners developing capabilities to launch U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil in the next few years.

For more information about upcoming Orbital test flights, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/orbital

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Image above: Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket at the launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. Over the next several months, Orbital plans a hot-fire test of the Antares first stage, the maiden flight of an Antares rocket, and a cargo delivery demonstration mission to the International Space Station as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Program. Photo Credit: NASA

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