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Oct 05 2015

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Wallops Island back in business

Repairs Completed at Orbital ATK’s Antares Launch Pad. It only took $15 million to repair — when the Antares explosion happened, I would have guessed it would have taken ten times that to fix the spaceport.

Over the last few months, 90-100 MARS employees and contractors worked round the clock to restore Launch Pad 0A to a flight-ready condition. Work began with remediation around the impact site, where the 20-foot-wide, 10-foot-deep crater was filled and contaminants were removed from the topsoil. Damaged structures were repaired and replaced, including liquid propellant feed lines which supply liquid oxygen and kerosene to the rocket and portions of the sound suppression water deluge system, which flood the pad with water to protect it from the energy released at liftoff. New lightning protection towers were installed, two of which were demolished in the explosion. An upgraded hydraulic system was installed, which will be capable of erecting the new Antares in its heavier 230 configuration. Electrical systems, heating and cooling systems, and the pad’s fire alarm were also repaired.

At the time of the accident, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) was not covered by insurance and if the damage had been greater, it may have had to close shop. Now Orbital ATK will buy the insurance for MARS, since they’re the primary user there.

Aerojet (maker of the faulty engine) lost in court to Orbital ATK, and paid them $50 million on 30 September, and they are no longer involved in the Antares project. I predict an acquisition in their future and if I were an employee for Aerojet, I’d have my resume out on the streets.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/05/wallops-island-back-in-business/

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