Antares hot fire test, gearing up for return-to-flight - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Antares hot fire test, gearing up for return-to-flight

A new and improved Orbital ATK Antares rocket is scheduled to fly again in July, a year and a half after a catastrophic explosion on a Virginia launch pad. (Source: Orbital ATK) A new and improved Orbital ATK Antares rocket is scheduled to fly again in July, a year and a half after a catastrophic explosion on a Virginia launch pad. (Source: Orbital ATK)
(WAFF) -

A new and improved Orbital ATK Antares rocket is scheduled to fly again in July, a year and a half after a catastrophic explosion on a Virginia launch pad.

Tuesday was a full-power,"hot-fire" test of its new upgraded RD-181 rocket engine attached to a first stage test rocket.

An Antares rocket exploded shortly after liftoff in October 2014 en route to the International Space Station.

Tuesday’s test was to make sure the engine, the rocket and the once-damaged-now-restored launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility were all in sync in preparation for a return-to-flight.

Basically, the test was to verify the functionality of the integrated first stage, including new engines, a modified Stage One core, avionic, thrust vector control and pad fueling systems.

Orbital ATK released a statement Tuesday night saying initial indications are that the test was fully successful and the Antares engineering team will review test data over the next few days to confirm that all test parameters were met.

Since the 2014 Antares explosion, Orbital ATK has used a Decatur-built United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket to resupply the ISS in order to honor its NASA commercial cargo contract.

To watch the "hot-fire" test, click here.

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