Orbital Delays Orb-2 Launch Due to Engine Test Failure

Orbital Delays Orb-2 Launch Due to Engine Test Failure

Orbital Sciences Corporation revealed today that it is delaying the June 10 launch of its second operational cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS), Orb-2.  The new “planning date” is June 17, but a firm date is yet to be determined.

The delay follows the failure of an AJ-26 rocket engine during a May 22 test at NASA’s Stennis Space Center.  AJ-26 engines power Orbital’s Antares rocket, which is used for these Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) missions to ISS.   The AJ-26 engines are refurbished Russian NK33 engines built more than four decades ago.  They are imported into the United States and refurbished by Aerojet Rocketdyne.  The engine that failed on May 22 was not intended for use on the June 10 launch, but Orbital needs time to determine what went wrong.

June 17 is only a planning date, Orbital said, adding that a firm date will “depend on progress of the investigation team.”  If launch takes place on June 17, the Cygnus cargo spacecraft would reach the ISS on June 20.

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