International Space Station

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The Salisbury-based Harkins Contracting Incorporated has been tapped to build a new Mission Launch Command Center at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

It will spread out over 14-thousand square feet becoming the central location for rocket control, their payloads and other support systems.

NASA

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Orbital Sciences has agreed to insure a state-owned launch pad in Virginia following a rocket explosion that damaged the Wallops Island facility.

An unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff on Oct. 28. Orbital has previously said preliminary investigation results point to a failure in one of the two main engines involved in the first stage of launch. The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority owns and operates the launch pad and says severe damage was spared, but repairs are necessary.

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The environmental impact report on the explosion of the Antares rocket at Wallops Flight Facility is in.

And, it found that some of the most serious occurred inside the 50 foot crater that saw ground water seep into the hole created by the rocket as it exploded 15 seconds after liftoff.

Around the site there was contamination from perchlorate which is used to make the rocket fuel.

That could pose a risk to the workers.

There were two recommendations.    

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WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) - Despite a massive explosion in October, authorities say a state-owned launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility should be repaired and ready for testing late next year.

Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff on Oct. 28. The rocket was carrying a cargo ship was bound for the International Space Station.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority says repairs to its launch pad on Wallops Island will likely take a year.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia officials plan to re-examine a spaceport deal with Orbital Sciences Corp. following a rocket explosion that damaged a state-owned launch pad.

Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne Jr. tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration may seek to renegotiate the deal.

McAuliffe also has asked U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Timothy M. Kaine to look for federal funds to help pay for repairs.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Orbital Sciences says it will likely stop using the type of engines that were employed when its unmanned Antares commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff last week.

The company says its investigation of the crash is continuing, but preliminary results point to a failure in one of its two main engines. Orbital says it still plans to fulfill its contract with NASA to deliver all remaining cargo to the Space Station by the end of 2016.

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It’s unlikely that the boat which delayed the launch of the Antares rocket launch at the Wallops Flight Facility last Monday will be fined.

Just before the launch the mission was scrubbed because a 26-foot sail boat was inside the safety zone.

Orbital Sciences said that it is not possible to say how much the delay cost but the company said, “It would not have been cheap.”

The rocket was carrying Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft that carried 5-thousand pounds of supplies for the International Space Station.

official photo

Reaction from elected officials to the rocket explosion at Wallops Island was one of sadness but also support for the private space venture.

Maryland’s Senior Senator Barbara Mikulski said that despite the disaster she remains a strong supporter of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

She said she was thankful that no one was hurt this week and that the explosion reminds us that rocketry is still hard.

The Antares rocket was carrying 5-thousand pounds of cargo to resupply the International Space Station.

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Now begins the search for answers to the explosion that destroyed the Antares rocket on Tuesday that was to carry supplies to the International Space Station.

Officials say they have begun an initial assessment of the damage and in the weeks ahead they will move forward with restoring the space launch capabilities.

Keith Kohler, a spokesman for the Wallops Flight Facility, he does not expect the disaster to affect upcoming sounding rocket launches which are scheduled for the coming months.

Assessment

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An Antares rocket exploded just seconds after liftoff from the Walllops Flight Facility late yesterday destroying the Cygnus cargo vessel carrying to 5-thousand pounds of supplies to the international space station.

The company will put together an investigative board to find out what caused the unmanned rocket to explode.

Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s Executive Vice President, told a news conference last night that it is too early to tell what exactly happened.

Wallops Flight Facility Website

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A space station delivery mission was called off Monday, just hours after the orbiting lab had to sidestep a piece of treacherous junk.

Orbital Sciences Corp. got to within the 10-minute mark for the Virginia launch of its unmanned Cygnus capsule. But a sailboat ended up in the restricted danger zone, and controllers halted the evening countdown.

The Virginia-based company will try again Tuesday evening.

NASA

Hurricane Gonzalo coming up from the south could affect the October 27th launch of the Orb-3 CRS Mission rocket launch if the storm heads north into the Atlantic.

NASA officials at Wallops Flight Facility say that before giving the go ahead to the launch a team must first assess the situation from their weather station in Bermuda.

Steve Kremer, Chief of the Wallops Range and Mission Management office, told WBOC that Wallops relies on the Bermuda tracking systems to communicate with the Antares rocket during the flight as well as to ensure public safety.  

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The Cygnus cargo spacecraft left the International Space Station this morning at 6: 40 a.m.

It delivered around 33-hundred pounds of supplies and experiments after launching from Wallops Flight Facility on July 13 aboard an Orbital Sciences Antares.

Around half the cargo was food for the space station crew, while the rest consisted of hardware, spare parts and scientific experiments.

The spacecraft should re-enter the atmosphere on August 17th and burn up over the Pacific Ocean. Orbital’s next cargo mission to the space station is set for this October.

 

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - NASA has chosen a University of Maryland proposal for a new instrument to observe changes in global vegetation from the International Space Station.

NASA announced Wednesday that the laser-based system will observe the structure of forest canopy. The instrument will be completed in 2019 and will not cost more than $94 million. NASA says sensors will give scientists new ways to see how forests and ecosystems are affected by changes in climate or land use change.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - A fresh delivery is on its way to the International Space Station.

Orbital Sciences Corp. launched a cargo ship Sunday from the Virginia coast. Daylight limited visibility, but sky-gazers from North Carolina to New Jersey still had a shot at seeing the rising rocket.

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The International Space Station resupply mission has been delayed another day.

It’s now scheduled for Sunday July 13th cancelling the Saturday launch.

Severe weather in the area of the Wallops Flight Facility has repeatedly hampered the launch of the Cygnus spacecraft.

The vehicle will carry around 33-hundred pounds of supplies including science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware.

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There will be no rocket launch tomorrow at Wallops Flight Facility.

Orbital Sciences has rescheduled the flight for its Cygnus space craft for Saturday because of bad weather.

NASA spokesmen Keith Koehler says the mission to the International Space Station will take place around 1 p.m. on Saturday.        

The Cygnus holds around 33-hundred pounds of supplies for the station.

This includes science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware.

Upon launch the Antares rocket is expected to be seen by much of the East Coast.

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The next re-supply mission for the International Space Station from the Wallops Flight Facility is set for July 11th.

The afternoon launch of the Cynus spacecraft will deliver over 1.8 tons of cargo to space station.

Meanwhile, the engineering team has cleared the AJ26 engine that is currently integrated into the Antares rocket after a recent failure during a launch.

After the Cynus reaches the space station it will be loaded with nearly 1.5 tons of material for disposal upon reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.   

NASA

The Antares rocket launch from the Wallops Island Flight facility was postponed yesterday for at least a week.

The reason: An Aerojet Rocketdyne engine for future use failed in testing.

The Orbital Sciences Corporation said that next launch window will be no earlier than June 17th.

It would be the second launch of eight planned commercial cargo flights to the International Space Station.

In the days ahead scientists will be looking at what caused the test failure of the rocket engine.

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - The International Space Station has one less capsule and a lot less trash.

A commercial cargo ship ended its five-week visit Tuesday morning. NASA astronaut Michael Hopkins used the space station's big robot arm to release the capsule, called Cygnus.

Cygnus is filled with garbage and will burn up when it plunges through the atmosphere Wednesday.

Space Goddard/Ed Compion

The Orbital Science’s rocket is on its way to the International Space Station after lifting off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility yesterday afternoon.

The Cygnus spacecraft is packed with 3-thousand pounds of equipment and experiments provided by NASA as well as food and other supplies.

The spacecraft is expected to dock with the space station sometime on Sunday.

The rocket launch was delayed three times – most recently because of a strong solar storm.

Wallops Flight Facility

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is set to launch the Orbital-1 cargo resupply rocket to the International Space Station this afternoon just after 1 p.m.

After being delayed earlier this week NASA officials say that the weather looks good for a successfully launch.

A Thursday launch would allow the Cygnus spacecraft to arrive at the International Space Station early Sunday with more than 27-hundred pounds of supplies for the crew members.

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Officials at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility declared the Cygnus space module resupply mission to the International Space Station a success.

The spacecraft re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere early yesterday afternoon and Orbital Sciences is now preparing to get into the heart of its contract with the space agency.

The next Cygnus space module is now on its way to Wallops with a launched date for mid-December.

Orbital Sciences spokesman Barry Benseki told WBOC that there will be at least eight such launches over the next three years from Wallops. 

NASA

The Cygnus has successfully docked with the International Space Station.

The spacecraft was launched on top of an Antares rocket September 18th.

The unmanned craft is owned by Orbital Sciences Corporation and reached its destination on Sunday.

With the smooth hook up the firm is only the second company to accomplish such a resupply feat.

The California-based SpaceX Company took the lead last year.

WBOC reports that with the successful docking Orbital Sciences can begin making good on its nearly $2 billion contract with NASA for more Cygnus deliveries.

Wallops Flight Facility

The Wallops Island flight facility is set for another rocket launch.

Tomorrow an Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket is expected to take the Cygnus spacecraft on its first mission to the International Space Station.

The 133-foot-tall, two-stage Antares rocket will be launched at 10-50 a.m. tomorrow with a 15-minute window.

It had originally been set for lift off today but was postponed because of bad weather.

Wallops Flight Facility website

The stage is set for a mid-September launch of an Antares rocket that will supply the International Space Station from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island.

The mission is the major goal in the agreement between Orbital Sciences and NASA.

The company has a contract for eight resupply missions under the Commercial Resupply Service program.

Wallops Island officials say that the two stages of the Antares rocket have been joined and are going through final testing.

orbital sciences corp logo

DULLES, Va. (AP) - Space technology company Orbital Sciences Corp. has been selected to develop a new astrophysics satellite for NASA under a four-year, $75 million contract.

The Dulles based company says it will design, manufacture and test the satellite that will perform a full-sky search for exoplanets around nearby stars. 

The work is being done as part of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite program. A launch is planned for mid-2017.