Status Report

Antares “Hot Fire” Test Abort

By SpaceRef Editor
February 13, 2013
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Antares “Hot Fire” Test Abort

February 14, 2013 Antares “Hot Fire” Test Update

After a preliminary overnight review of the data from the hot fire test attempt on February 13, Orbital’s Antares team has identified low pressurization levels of a “nitrogen purge” of the aft engine compartment as the reason the Antares flight computer, acting as designed, aborted the test with about 1.5 seconds left in the countdown. All other aspects of the countdown procedure, from the ground fueling system of the MARS launch complex to the Stage 1 test article, performed nominally. Orbital’s Antares team expects to perform another test before the end of February, with an exact date for the test still to be determined.

February 13 2013

The planned first stage propulsion system “hot fire” test of Orbital’s new Antares medium-class rocket was halted in the final seconds of the countdown by the rocket’s flight computer, which detected an anomalous condition. The Antares team will evaluate the data from the test to determine the nature of the abort. A new date for the test has not been determined.

The test hot fire test is being conducted at Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia. The major objectives of the hot fire test are to verify the that pad’s fueling systems and the Antares stage one test article functioned properly in a fully operational environment, that engine ignition and shut down commands operated as designed, and that the dual AJ26 first stage engines performed to specifications in the twin-engine configuration.

SpaceRef staff editor.