The January 30 explosion of a
Ukranian Zenit rocket has caused a ripple effect for a planned US
Air Force launch... because the Atlas V booster uses an engine
similar to the type that failed on the earlier launch.
On Thursday, officials delayed the Atlas V's original February
22 launch date, to give engineers at the Air Force Space &
Missile Systems Center time to recertify the booster's Russian-made
engine. The next launch date is tentatively scheduled for March 8
from Cape Canaveral.
The two engine types share 70 percent of their parts, according
to Florida Today.
As Aero-News reported,
commercial rocket company Sea Launch lost a Zenit-3SL rocket last
month, after it exploded on liftoff from a floating launch platform
stationed in the equatorial Pacific. The booster's payload, a
Boeing NSS-8 satellite flying for the Netherlands, was
Six experimental military satellites are set to ride into orbit
onboard the Atlas V. Among those is the Orbital Express spacecraft,
which will demonstrate procedures to be used in refueling
satellites in orbit.