Impact of Antares Crash Still Unclear

Air Force officials are not yet sure how future launches out of the Wallops Island, Va., facility will be impacted, following the crash of a NASA-contracted vehicle on Oct. 28. Any impact won’t be decided until after the official investigation has concluded, officials told Air Force Magazine. However, the Tuesday launch failure “has no direct impact on Air Force launch operations or launch plans,” said Air Force spokeswoman Peggy Hodge via email. Hodge said “the only payload with an Air Force tie-in was the Re-Entry Break-up Recorder-Wireless experiment, or REBR-W.” She added, “The Air Force Rocket Systems Launch Program has no missions currently planned for the Antares,” and therefore, the Air Force is not seeking alternative vehicles for future launches, as “the Antares launch system is but one type of rocket that can launch a 4,000-to 20,000+ payload to low orbit”—both the SpaceX Falcon 9 and the Orbital Minotaur VI offer similar capabilities.