Thursday, October 1, 2015

Major Repairs on Wallops Island Spaceport Completed

An aerial view of the Wallops Island launch facilities taken by the Wallops Incident Response Team Oct. 29 following the failed launch attempt of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket Oct. 28. (Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach)

September 30 marks the completion of the major repair work at the Virginia Space – MARS Launch Pad-0A, located on NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. This is a significant milestone in support of Orbital ATK resuming cargo resupply service with the upgraded Antares launch vehicle to the International Space Station for NASA.

The rebuild effort restored to flight readiness the facility and all systems that were damaged during the October 28, 2014 launch mishap. This work included repairs or replacement to the Deluge, HVAC, Fire Alarm, Electrical systems, Controls, Liquid Fueling Facilities and any damaged structures. The work was completed as scheduled, and within the overall budget while keeping a small management reserve for final system performance testing, which started September 25, 2015.

The spaceport plans to launch an improved Antares in March 2016.

On Oct. 28, 2014, the Antares rocket carrying the Orb-3 Cygnus launched as scheduled from Launch Pad 0A at the Wallops Flight Facility. Fifteen seconds after liftoff a failure of propulsion occurred in the first stage and the vehicle began falling back to the launch pad; before reaching the ground it was destroyed by its flight termination system which was engaged by a command from the Wallops Range Control Center.

The entire payload was lost and there was significant damage to the launch pad. However, a survey on Oct. 29 found no serious damage to the launch pad and site fuel tanks, although some repairs will be required.


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