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Antares carrier rocket’s explosion to force adjustments in ISS program

October 29, 2014, 19:08 UTC+3 KOROLYOV
Resources of water, food, air, and fuel have been mostly lost and all the spare parts used in the maintenance of the life support system of the American segment of the ISS have been lost in full
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KOROLYOV, Moscow region, October 29. /TASS/. Explosion of the US-Ukrainian Antares carrier rocket that occurred on Tuesday at a NASA space center in Virginia will necessitate changes in the program of experiments at the US segment of the International Space Station, Vladimir Solovyov, the supervisor of the flight program at the Russian section of the ISS told reporters on Wednesday.

“The Americans will now have to adjust their program of experiments,” he said.

As for the program of Russia’s Progress cargo ships launches, it will not be affected, Solovyov said.

Basic materials needed for experiments at the American segment of the station, resources of water, foods, air, and fuel have been mostly lost and all the spare parts used in the maintenance of the life support system have been lost in full, he said.

“The situation isn’t critical if you take the experiments and all of the necessary materials will be delivered by the next cargo ship,” Solovyov said.

“And if you take the resources of water, foodstuffs and air at the ISS, “we have their resources aboard the ISS that are enough for three to eight months,” he said.

Infographics Antares rocket explodes Antares rocket explodes
Overnight to October 29, a US Antares carrier rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from the spaceport in Virginia. The rocket was to carry the cargo spacecraft to the orbit and deliver to the ISS more than 2 tons of payload. Infographics by TASS

Impact of Antares explosion on commercial space flights

The Antares accident will not affect further progress of commercial space flights, Solovyov believes.

“I don’t think this situation should have any major aftermaths but it’s important to clear out the cause of the explosion and to refine the design of the carrier rockets in line with the findings,” Solovyov said.

Solovyov also said NASA had not made any requests to Russia in connection with the Antares’s explosion.

“We’ve had no requests from the Americans so far,” he said. “They are clearing the situation out on their own.”

The Antares project

The Antares, which was known as the Taurus II in the initial phases of its development, was designed for orbiting small payloads of up to 5,000 kilograms. Its developers are the Orbital Science Corporation and Ukraine's Yuzhmash R&D Group.

Under the terms of the project, the Ukrainian side designed and manufactured the first stage of the rocket, while the U.S. company took charge of the second stage and the ground launch site.

The programme was partly financed by NASA and the entire cost of its implementation reached $ 1.9 billion. The first four launches of the Antareses were successful.

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