Virginia, Orbital ATK Squabble Over Wallops Island Repairs

An aerial view of the Wallops Island launch facilities taken by the Wallops Incident Response Team Oct. 29 following the failed launch attempt of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket Oct. 28. (Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach)
An aerial view of the Wallops Island launch facilities taken by the Wallops Incident Response Team Oct. 29 following the failed launch attempt of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket Oct. 28. (Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach)

Virginia and Orbital ATK are squabbling who is going to finish paying for repairs of a Wallops Island launch pad that was severely damaged by the explosion of the company’s Antares rocket last October.

NASA has covered about $5 million of the repair tab, while Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK provided another $3 million. Virginia contributed too, committing roughly $3 million of the state-funded spaceflight authority’s $16 million annual operating budget.

That leaves another $2 million or so to complete repairs of Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a state-leased corner of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. The pad was developed to support Orbital ATK’s cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station under the company’s eight-flight, $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA….

“We believe Orbital is responsible for the damage to the pad,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said in a May 12 phone interview. “We do not see it as a primary obligation of the commonwealth.”

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