KYIV. Nov 13 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Antares launch vehicle (LV) designed and created in Ukraine used in the implementation of a NASA CRS-8 Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was successfully launched from a launch pad in the United States.
The successful launch of the Antares LV with the Cygnus spacecraft, which was broadcasted on the NASA website, was carried out from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island (Virginia, the United States) at 14:14 Kyiv time. Initially, the launch was scheduled for Saturday, but was scrubbed at the last moment due to a plane in the hazard area.
The Cygnus spacecraft, which was launched into a near-earth orbit, will deliver about 3 tonnes of payload, supplies of food, scientific equipment to the ISS, and will also recycle waste from the ISS.
The basic structure of the first phase of the Antares rocket was designed by Pivdenne Design Bureau and made by Pivdenmash (both based in Dnipro). Ukraine’s Hartron-Arkos, Hartron-Ucom, Chezara (Chernihiv Plant of Radio Equipment), and Rapid are also involved in cooperation on the project.
This is the second launch of the upgraded Antares LV – Antares-230 with replaced engines of the first stage.
In October 2014, the launch to the International Space Station of a private cargo spacecraft, Cygnus, atop an Antares rocket from NASA’s Wallops flight facility in the state of Virginia ended in failure: the rocket exploded just seconds after the liftoff. The failure was traced to a fault in the first stage engines. After this, Orbital ATK decided to replace the first stage engine.