Subject matter experts from Wallops' environmental team will be on hand to answer questions about the mishap's environmental impact on Wallops Island as well as testing and remediation efforts conducted to date and planned for the future. In addition, launch and range safety officials will be available to speak about safety processes and procedures before, during, and after launch operations.
“I'm very proud of the work by the combined NASA, Orbital and MARS team in the wake of the Antares mishap,” said Bill Wrobel, Wallops Flight Facility director. “The team has been working tirelessly to restore and repair the launch site, which is a true national asset, so we can keep moving forward and return to launch.”
Data from samples collected at the impact site and the surrounding area shows the environmental effects of the launch were largely contained to the impact crater adjacent to Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A on Wallops Island.
Since the event, the team has conducted follow-on sampling of air, surface water, ground water, and soil. Air sampling is complete and no hazards or environmental impacts were identified during air sampling. The U.S. Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Resources Commission patrolled the inland bays and ocean for 24 hours following the mishap and reported no observations of water pollution, such as oil sheens.
Groundwater in the impact crater adjacent to the pad has been pumped out, containerized and removed six times since the incident to remove perchlorate, a chemical in the fuel of Antares' second stage motor. Pumping and sampling at the site will continue to track progress.
In addition, crews have begun excavating soil in the area around the impact crater to remove any residual RP-1, a highly-refined kerosene used as a propellant for the first stage of the Antares rocket.
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Health, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal and state agencies have providied oversight of the environmental remediation. A complete environmental summary can be found here: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/AntaresEnvFactsheetDec8.pdf
For more information about the event, call Jeremy Eggers, Wallops' Office of Communications, at 757-824-2958.
For directions to the Wallops Visitor Center, see: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/visitorcenter/location/index.html#.VH8lVt6ihU4