Taurus II First Stage Core Arrives on Wallops Island

The Taurus II first stage core at Wallops Island. (Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation)

OSC PROGRAM UPDATE

The core structure of the Taurus II first stage arrived at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Eastern Virginia on Dec 3, 2010. The core structure was manufactured in Ukraine by Orbital’s subcontractor Yuzhmash. After arrival by a transoceanic cargo ship at the Port of Wilmington, DE, it was transported by overland to the NASA Wallops launch site and was off-loaded into Building H-100 where it will undergo checkout and integration testing.

The initial stage 1 core structure is scheduled to be used for a series of tests at the launch pad, including propellant flow operations to demonstrate the filling of the vehicle’s tanks, for ground tests that simulate the in-flight propellant flow to the dual AJ-26 engines that provide the propulsion for Stage 1, and for a hot-fire demonstration during the final lead up to the first launch scheduled in the third quarter of 2011.

Pad OA at Wallops Island. (Credit: Orbital Sciences Corporation)

In addition to the progress being made on the Taurus II rocket, construction continues at a brisk pace at the Wallops Island launch site. Installation of interior infrastructure at the Horizontal Integration Facility (HIF), where Taurus II will be assembled and tested, nears completion with occupancy of the facility slated for January 2011. At the launch pad, the majority of the concrete has been poured and installation of fuel storage tanks and feed lines continues. Prominent features visible in the photos below include the flame deflector, the launch mount and two of the pad’s four lightning towers.