Friday, October 21, 2011

Orbital's Taurus II Delayed Until Spring

An artist's concept of Cygnus atop a Taurus II. Image source: Orbital Sciences.

Florida Today reports that a test flight of the Orbital Sciences Taurus II rocket with a mockup Cygnus commercial cargo carrier has been delayed until spring.

All the hardware for the test is in place at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, but work on launch pad 0A continues.

“It’s a construction project, and it’s a complex one,” said Barron Beneski, a spokesman for Dulles, Va.-based Orbital. “It’s going to get done with persistent effort.”

The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority is responsible for the project, which includes the concrete pad stand, flame trench, propellant tanks, lightning protection and other systems.

Beneski said issues had arisen with a system that holds the Taurus II to the pad and with tanks that weren’t maintained properly and needed additional cleaning.

Florida Today reported on October 4 that SpaceX, the other commercial cargo company, may delay their first International Space Station berthing flight until January due to schedule conflict caused by the Russian Progress accident and further testing.

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