Norfolk, Va. – After a launch mishap on October 28th, Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket will fly again, the company announced Wednesday.
Orbital announced plans for a “hot fire” test of Antares in late 2015 and a maiden voyage in 2016.
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility was spared from severe damage after the Antares rocket launch failed 15 seconds after liftoff and returned to earth, impacting near the launch site.
An engineering inspection of the Spaceport has been completed and teams are estimating that facility repairs should take about a year to complete.
NASA, Orbital, and the Spaceport continue their execution of an environmental remediation plan, which includes sampling and pumping water from the impact crater. Water samples taken indicate that there has been no impact to back bays and tributaries.
Soil samples taken indicate that contamination was contained to the area immediately around the crater. Six inches of soil will be removed from the area. That work will begin this month.
Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne remains confident flights from MARS will resume in 2016, but with additional protections for Virginia taxpayers. "We are looking for both Orbital and NASA to partner with the Commonwealth for funding to begin repairing the launch facility and ongoing environmental cleanup. Then let’s put a sustainable plan in place for the long term. That’s what the Governor has asked us to do.”