Taurus II Launch Delayed Two Months

Artist's conception of Obital Sciences Corporation's Taurus II rocket set for launch at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

Space News has an update on Orbital Science’s Taurus II:

The inaugural flight of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Taurus 2 rocket will be delayed by about two months, to December, to allow time for the completion and certification of rocket propellant and pressurization facilities at the vehicle’s Wallops Island, Va., launch site, Orbital Chief Executive David W. Thompson said July 21.

Dulles, Va.-based Orbital still intends to demonstrate its space station cargo vehicle on the second Taurus 2 flight about two months after the first successful liftoff, meaning that mission, in which the Cygnus capsule will approach the international space station, will be delayed to February, Thompson said.

In a conference call with investors, Thompson said an early-June test failure of a Taurus 2 first-stage AJ26 engine is unlikely to have much impact on the rocket’s overall launch schedule as an initial assessment of the other AJ26 engines in supplier Aerojet’s inventory shows that two-thirds appear not to have the defect that caused the mishap. The remaining one-third will require rework or repair, he said.

Orbital spokesman Barron Beneski said July 21 that the engine being tested caught fire because of a “fuel line breakage.”

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