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Saturday, November 03, 2012

Antares Booster 'Hot Fire' in Late November

 First stage of Antares on Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport pad. Credit: Orbital
Orbital Sciences Corporation will regain momentum for the initial launch campaign of the new Antares booster on pad A the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va. following its brush with Hurricane Sandy on the Eastern Shore.
"Initial post-Hurricane Sandy inspections and a more thorough review conducted over the last two days, it appears the Antares first stage "weathered" the storm in good shape, as did the MARS launch pad and our supporting facilities on Wallops Island", notes Orbital's Director Of Government Relations Michelle Frank.
"There was a loss of power on the island during the storm but the data recovered from the rocket, and the inspections now underway, do not show any significant impacts to the vehicle," she noted.
Orbital Sciences moved the Antares first stage to the launch pad in early October for fit checks, fueling tests and a 30-second hot fire of its two AJ26 engines, noted SpaceflightNow Nov. 1, 2012
"Beginning this weekend, our team plans to resume normal operations and we anticipate getting the series of wet dress rehearsals underway about a week later. For those keeping track, that puts the hot fire test at the very end of November. Once those tests are complete and the data is analyzed, we will determine a launch date for the test flight of Antares," Frank said. 

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