One Year After Antares Explosion. NASA Says Significant Progress - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

One Year After Antares Explosion. NASA Says Significant Progress Made Toward Next Launch

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The Antares rocket explosion on Oct. 28, 2014. (Photo: WBOC) The Antares rocket explosion on Oct. 28, 2014. (Photo: WBOC)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.-  The Antares rocket launch failure from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore was likely the largest explosion Delmarva has ever seen. The images from the Oct. 28, 2014 explosion were broadcast around the globe.  Days later, we got to see what was left behind, a charred and partially destroyed launchpad.

One year later, Sarah Daugherty, test director for Wallops, said the road to recovery has been swift.

"Repairs to the MARS pad 0A were completed earlier this month. What they are doing now is what we call performance testing. So they are basically verifying the repair and certain replacement parts with specific tests," said Daugherty.

A cause for the explosion has yet to be released, but the engines on the next Antares rockets are a new design.

"A switch out, or an upgrade if you will, to a little bit larger engine, which can put more cargo into space, and carry more to the International Space Station," said Daugherty.

Many watched the launch and subsequent explosion from their backyards in Chincoteague. They looked across the water and wondered if there was going to be any lasting environmental impact from this.

"The thought crosses your mind," said John McGoldrick of Greenbackville, "but that's something you have to leave to the professionals."

And the professionals say the area is clean.

"Now we're just doing consistent monitoring to ensure there is no lasting impact, but we're very clear of that," Daugherty said.

With the launchpad repaired and testing underway, wallops is set for another Antares launch in early 2016.

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