<p><img width="700" height="432" src="http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_0632_4b_Antares-Hot-Fire-Wallops_Ken-Kremer-700x432.jpg" class="attachment-single size-single wp-post-image" alt="First stage of Orbital ATK Antares rocket outfitted with new RD-181 engines stands erect at Launch Pad-0A on NASA Wallops Flight Facility on May 24, 2016 in preparation for the upcoming May 31 hot fire engine test. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com" srcset="http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_0632_4b_Antares-Hot-Fire-Wallops_Ken-Kremer-700x432.jpg 700w, http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_0632_4b_Antares-Hot-Fire-Wallops_Ken-Kremer-250x155.jpg 250w, http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_0632_4b_Antares-Hot-Fire-Wallops_Ken-Kremer-580x359.jpg 580w, http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_0632_4b_Antares-Hot-Fire-Wallops_Ken-Kremer-1024x634.jpg 1024w, http://www.universetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IMG_0632_4b_Antares-Hot-Fire-Wallops_Ken-Kremer.jpg 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 700px) 100vw, 700px" /></p> <p>WALLOPS ISLAND, VA - The <a href="http://www.universetoday.com/128874/upgraded-antares-rolls-out-to-virginia-launch-pad-high-stakes-engine-test-looms/">soon to be reborn Orbital ATK Antares</a> commercial rocket sporting new first stage engines has been raised at its repaired launch pad on Virginia’s scenic eastern shore for <a href="http://www.universetoday.com/123095/one-year-after-antares-failure-orbital-atk-revamps-rocket-for-2016-return-to-flight/">a long awaited</a> test firing of the powerplants. The static test firing is now slated to take place in less than 3 days on Tuesday evening, May 31.</p> <p>The now <a href="http://www.universetoday.com/123949/antares-at-wallops/">revamped launch vehicle - dubbed Antares 230 </a>- has been ‘re-engined’ and upgraded with a pair of modern and more powerful first stage engines - the Russian-built RD-181 fueled by LOX/kerosene. </p> <p>The engine test will be conducted using only the first stage of Antares at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad-0A at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. </p> <p>The raised rocket with the first stage capped at the top is visible right now at the Wallops pad - as seen in my new photos taken this week. </p> <p>NASA announced that the static test firing is slated for no earlier than May 31 during a test window that runs from 5 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. EDT. As a contingency, the Wallops range has been reserved for backup test dates that run through June 5 just in case issues crop up.</p> <p>NASA will not be carrying a live webcast of the test. Rather they will note the completion of the test on the Wallops’ Facebook and Twitter sites. </p> <p>The test firing will be visible from various public viewing locations in the local Wallops area. However the NASA Wallops Visitor center will not be open. </p> <p>NASA will not be carrying a live webcast of the test. Rather they will note the completion of the test on the Wallops’ Facebook and Twitter sites. </p> <p>The test firing will be visible from various public viewing locations in the local Wallops area. However the NASA Wallops Visitor center will not be open. </p> <p>The test involves firing up Antares dual first stage RD-181 engines at full 100% power (thrust) for a scheduled duration of approximately 30 seconds. Hold down restraints will keep the rocket firmly anchored at the pad during the test.</p> <p>To prepare for the static hot fire test, Orbital ATK technicians rolled the vehicle on a dedicated multi-wheeled transporter erector launcher from the rockets processing hangar inside the Horizontal Integration Facility at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad-0A about a mile away.</p> <p>A successful outcome is absolutely crucial for permitting Antares to carry out its ‘Return to Flight’ launch dubbed OA-5 and set for sometime this summer.</p> <p>“The hot fire will demonstrate the readiness of the rocket's first stage and the launch pad fueling systems to support upcoming flights,” said NASA officials.</p> <p>Antares launches ground to a halt following a devastating launch failure 19 months ago which destroyed the rocket and its payload of space station science and supplies for NASA in a huge fireball.</p> <p>The ‘Return to Flight’ blastoff - which could come as soon as July 2016 - will be the first for the private Antares rocket since that catastrophic launch failure on Oct. 28, 2014, just seconds after liftoff from Wallops. That flight was carrying Orbital ATK’s Cygnus cargo freighter on the critical Orb-3 resupply mission for NASA and the astronauts living and working on the International Space Station (ISS). </p> <p>The launch mishap was traced to a failure in the AJ26 first stage engine turbopump and caused Antares launches to immediately grind to a halt. </p> <p>The RD-181 replaces the AJ26. The flight engines are built by Energomash in Russia.</p> <p>“They are a good drop in replacement for the AJ26. And they offer 13% higher thrust compared to the AJ26,” said Kurt Eberly, Orbital ATK Antares deputy program manager, in an interview with Universe Today. </p> <p>As a result of switching to the new RD-181 engines, the first stage also had to be modified to incorporate new thrust adapter structures, actuators, and propellant feed lines between the engines and core stage structure.</p> <p> “This stage test paradigm is a design verification test," said Eberly.</p> <p>“After the 30 second test is done we will shut it down and have a pile of data to look at,” Eberly told Universe Today. </p> <p>“Hopefully it will confirm all our environments and all our models and give us the confidence so we can proceed with the return to flight.”</p> <p>Technicians have been processing the rocket at the pad to ready it for the test. They also conducted a wet dress rehearsal (WDR) and loaded the propellants like during an actual launch campaign.</p> <p>The full up engine test follows the WDR.</p> <p>“After the WDR we will do the stage test,” Eberly explained. </p> <p>“It is a 30 second test. We will fire up both engines and hit all 3 power levels that we plan to use in flight.”</p> <p>“We will use the thrust vector controls. So we will move the nozzles and sweep them through sinusoidal sweeps at different frequencies and excite various resonances and look for any adverse interaction between fluid modes and structural modes.”</p> <p>The test uses the first stage core planned to launch the OA-7 mission from Wallops late this year. </p> <p>After the engine test is completed, the stage will be rolled back to the HIF and a new stage fully integrated with the Cygnus cargo freighter will be rolled out to the pad for the OA-5 ‘Return to Flight’ mission as soon as July. </p> <p>“Orbital ATK is building, testing and flying the Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. NASA initiatives like the cargo resupply contracts are helping develop a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit,” according to NASA.</p> <p>Stay tuned here for <a href="http://www.universetoday.com/author/ken-kremer/">Ken's</a> continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news. </p> <p><a href="http://www.kenkremer.com">Ken Kremer</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.universetoday.com/129115/reborn-antares-raised-at-virginia-launch-pad-for-crucial-may-31-engine-test/">Reborn Antares Raised at Virginia Launch Pad for Crucial May 31 Engine Test</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.universetoday.com">Universe Today</a>.</p>
Former astronaut Scott Kelly, who set the record for the longest sojourn in space for any American after his nearly yearlong mission ended in March, was honored at the Intrepid Museum's 25th annual Salute to Freedom gala yesterday (May 26).
Time to tune up your telescopes! Mars is at its closest approach to Earth in 11 years on Monday (May 30), providing a great closer to Memorial Day events.
Irvine, Calif. (UPI) May 26, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/standard-model-elementary-particles-bosun-fermion-lepton-quark-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> A team of Hungarian physicists published a paper last year hinting at the possibility of a fifth force of nature. It escaped publicity, but a recent analysis of the data by researchers at the University of California, Irvine has brought the paper back into the limelight. The Standard Model of particle physics - a model that helps scientists explain all the physics we can observe - fea
Santa Barbara CA (SPX) May 27, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/vampyrella-lateritia-vampyrellidae-amoebae-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> Vampires are real, and they've been around for millions of years. At least, the amoebae variety has. So suggests new research from UC Santa Barbara paleobiologist Susannah Porter. Using a scanning electron microscope to examine minute fossils, Porter found perfectly circular drill holes that may have been formed by an ancient relation of Vampyrellidae amoebae. These single-celled creatures
Washington (AFP) May 26, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/floppy-disk-blue-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> America's nuclear force still uses floppy disks designed in the 1970s to coordinate some of its functions, according to a watchdog report released Wednesday. The report by the Government Accountability Office points to a number of worryingly outdated "legacy systems" still in use across the US government that are in desperate need of upgrading. A Pentagon command and control system that
New York (UPI) May 26, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/l3-communications-logo-600-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> L-3 Communications Holdings has announced plans to open a design, engineering and support facility in Canada. The entity will be in Ottawa, Ontario, under the new organization, L-3 Communication Systems Canada, and will include a communications system laboratory. The laboratory will provide an integration test bed and demonstration environment for future maritime communications a
Pittsburgh (UPI) May 25, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/moffett-field-federal-airfield-airport-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> RE2 Robotics is to provide manipulation and ground robotics expertise for the U.S. Air Force's Rapid Airfield Damage Repair program. The services come under a three-year $3.3 million subcontract from a division of Applied Research Associates Inc., located at Tyndall AFB in Panama City, Florida. "It is highly likely, if an airfield is attacked, that unexploded ordnance, debris, an
La Paz (XNA) May 30, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/bolivia-china-tupac-katari-1-tksat-1-artwork-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> In a successful transfer of technology, Bolivian personnel have taken over the operations of the country's Chinese-built Tupac Katari satellite, an official said Wednesday. "Starting in April of this year, our supplier left Bolivian personnel 100 percent in charge of the operations of the satellite and ...the operations are progressing smoothly," the Bolivian News Agency reported, citing t
Moscow (Sputnik) May 30, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/federation-reusable-piloted-spacecraft-russia-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> Russia's state company Energia has developed a project of reusable manned Ryvok spacecraft for delivery of cargo and cosmonauts to the Moon, the company's representative Yuri Makushenko said Wednesday. Energia was planning to start the construction of next-generation Federatsia (Federation) spacecraft this year. The spacecraft is considered capable to perform missions in the Moon. "C
Moscow (Sputnik) May 30, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/forward-section-folding-fin-rocket-dusty-plasma-charged-aerosol-release-experiment-2-care-2-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> A Russian rocket engine company, with the assistance of a major research and development institute, will work on a project to create a powerful electrodeless plasma rocket engine, Russia's Roscosmos space corporation said Wednesday. The project will be developed by the Kurchatov Institute, Russia's leading research and development institution in the field of nuclear energy, and the Chemica
Moscow (Sputnik) May 26, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/russia-remote-controlled-robot-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> According to a deputy chief of the space agency Roscosmos, Russian scientists plan to test their first humanoid robot capable of performing outer space missions at the International Space Station (ISS) in four years. Russian scientists plan to test their first humanoid robot capable of performing outer space missions at the International Space Station (ISS) in four years, a deputy chief of
Luxembourg (SPX) May 30, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/ses-logo-300-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> SES has strengthened its partnership with K-NET, an ICT and Telecoms platform services company based in Ghana, to create a joint venture. The new partnership will contract SES capacity, SES PS's and K-NET's services, and aim to bring high picture quality content to the homes of millions of viewers by strengthening the direct-to-home (DTH) platform and also providing digital terrestrial televisio
Paris (ESA) May 30, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/visual-monitoring-camera-vmc-mars-express-limb-mars-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> A modest 'webcam' on Mars Express has proven useful for outreach, education and citizen-science. Now ESA have decided to adopt it as a professional science instrument. Mars Express was launched in 2003 with a simple, low-resolution camera to provide visual confirmation that its Beagle 2 lander had separated. Once that was done, the camera was switched off, and the craft got on with its main miss
Leeds, UK (SPX) May 27, 2016<br/> <img src="http://www.spxdaily.com/images-bg/cretaceous-marine-environment-antarctica-heteromorph-ammonite-diplomoceras-bg.jpg" hspace=5 vspace=2 align=right border=0 width=160 height=128> A study of more than 6,000 marine fossils from the Antarctic shows that the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs was sudden and just as deadly to life in the polar regions. Previously, scientists had thought that creatures living in the southernmost regions of the planet would have been in a less perilous position during the mass extinction event than those elsewhere on Earth. T