Virginia: Orbital ATK on Tuesday announced that it has conducted a full-power 'hot fire' test of the upgraded first stage propulsion system of its Antares medium-class rocket using new RD-181 main engines.
The 30-second test took place at 5:30 p.m. (EDT) on May 31, 2016 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A located at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Video courtesy: NASA's Wallops Flight Facility/YouTube
Initial indications suggest that the test was fully successful, and the Antares engineering team will review test data over the next two weeks to confirm that all test parameters were met.
“Early indications show the upgraded propulsion system, core stage and launch complex all worked together as planned,” said Mike Pinkston, Orbital ATK General Manager and Vice President, Antares Program. “Congratulations to the combined NASA, Orbital ATK and Virginia Space team on a successful test.”
The confirmation of a successful test will clear the way for Orbital ATK to resume cargo resupply services to the International Space Station from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, currently scheduled for July.
The primary goal of the test was to verify the functionality of the integrated first stage, including new engines, modified Stage 1 core, avionics, thrust vector control and pad fueling systems in an operational environment.
Orbital ATK, a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, has successfully completed five cargo delivery missions to the ISS, including a demonstration mission in 2013 and four operational missions under the CRS-1 contract from 2014 to present.