June 10, 2008 8:02 AM
by Jessica Sabbath
Orbital Sciences Corp. will spend $45 million to assemble and launch a new rocket, bringing 125 new jobs to Dulles and the Eastern Shore.
The company chose the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at Wallops Island in Accomack County to build its new Taurus II rocket. Orbital will spend $45 million to assemble, test and launch the rocket.
The Taurus II’s first mission is scheduled to be a demonstration delivery of cargo for NASA and Orbital to the International Space Station. If later this year NASA chooses Orbital for its future cargo delivery missions, they would begin from Wallops Island in 2011.
Orbital designs and manufactures rockets and space systems for commercial, military and government clients.
“We appreciate the significant contributions that the Commonwealth of Virginia, MARS and other interested parties are making to improve the Wallops space launch infrastructure,” said Antonio Elias, executive vice president and general manager of Advanced Programs for Orbital, in a statement. “These improvements will allow Taurus II launches and resupply flights to the International Space Station to be conducted from the Eastern Shore.”
Way to go Jerry Redden and crew! Good Luck!
Rodger Pickett of Cape Canaveral Fla.
Jun. 10, 2008 at 02:42 PM
The Orbital Sciences Corporation decision to launch resupply demonstration missions from the Wallops Island Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport is of extreme significance. If Orbital gets ‘the GO’ from NASA in 2011 and beyond, the economic impact could well be in excess of one billion dollars over the next few years.
The next logical step is for the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority to human-rate the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport launch pad(s) for the next phase of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, namely
COTS-D for human crew exchange at the internatinal space station.
Then there will soon be the privately-owned space stations of Bigelow Aerospace in Las Vegas that will need numerous crew exchange flights in the post 2012-private space travel era.
In short, Virginia’s political and business leaders had best get serious about effective competition with Florida to be a first-rate space launch state.
Jack Kennedy of Wise, Va. 24293
Jun. 11, 2008 at 08:34 AM
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