Now: NASA to launch Antares rocket at 622PM ET, 322PM PT


Whoa! There was a problem.

Congratulations Xeni, you jinxed it!

YIKES! This was unmanned, right?

NASA doesn’t have any manned launch vehicle.

And I guess that’s why. Jesus. I had just set up the NASA channel on my Roku to watch this in HD…not what I’d been hoping for.

Note that this was not a NASA-built rocket, it was entirely contracted out to Orbital Sciences, which used a modified Soviet engine design from the 1960s. Regardless, expect to hear a lot of “See, NASA can’t do anything right, it should be privatized!” from the usual suspects.

It’s more than just a modified Soviet engine ‘design’ - it’s a pair of actual rocket engines built in Soviet Ukraine in the 60s or early 70s. They were originally for the Soviet N1 moon mission, but it was cancelled in 1976. They had 150 rocket engines built at that point, but they were all ordered to be destroyed. However some bright spark decided to put them in storage instead, and they sat in a warehouse for twenty years. In the mid nineties Russia sold 38 of them to an American company called Aerojet, who replaced the electronics and added an gimballing system. Orbital Sciences buy these from Aerojet.



one would think that these kinds of accidents belonged to the past…
then again so do these rocket engines

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