Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft on-board, suffers a catastrophic anomaly moments after launching from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Oct. 28, 2014. (Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)
The Orbital Sciences rocket that exploded just after lift-off earlier this week was on its way to carry cargo to the International Space Station for NASA, but it could have an impact on efforts at the Pentagon to build a new liquid rocket engine, according to a report (subscription required) by CQ Roll Call’s Megan Scully.
Scully wrote Wednesday that the crash will “almost certainly fuel congressional efforts to expedite the military’s nascent plans to develop a new U.S.-built liquid rocket engine.”
We still don’t know exactly what caused the explosion, but Aviation Week reported Wednesday that the company “could accelerate a plan to re-engine the Antares main stage if the cause of an Oct. 28 launch failure is attributed to the rocket’s twin AJ-26 engines.” The story also has background on the engines.
The Associated Press has an overview of Orbital Sciences.