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Sat, Feb 17, 2007

Russian Engine Failure Delays Atlas V Launch

Engineers Need To Recertify Booster

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 destroyed.

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.

FMI: www.ulalaunch.com/index.html

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