As NASA and Orbital Sciences assess damage from Tuesday’s Antares rocket explosion, hundreds of Navy personnel and contractors who work at the Wallops Island Flight Facility are stuck waiting.
“It could potentially push us back, so that’s why we’ll adjust, make the assessments then adjust our schedules accordingly,” says radar engineer Richard Keys.
The building Keys works at is just a mile from the launch pad where the explosion took place.
“Our main concern is getting back in to assess the equipment that we have; was there any damage from the blast,” Keys says.
Joan Pillis is a civilian Navy worker. She’s now on standby, not sure when she’ll be able to go back in.
“Everybody is keeping fingers crossed that the damage is minimal," she says. "We’re working off site. We kept in touch; we all have access through laptops and stuff.”
For months, Keys has worked alongside NASA and Orbital employees preparing for the launch.
“You see all the hard work that they’ve done and the preps for this and you know it impacts us also because we couldn’t radiate at certain times because they were doing certain preps,” he says. “Everyone is working together so when we saw that last night it was kind of like, oh no.”
A Navy contractor who spoke to NewsChannel 3 by phone said she's been told that she could be back at work by Thursday afternoon.