Last October’s explosion of Orbital ATK Inc’s Antares rocket may have been triggered when debris inadvertently left in a fuel tank traveled into the booster’s main engine, two people familiar with investigations into the accident told Reuters.
The sources said the preliminary findings suggest that a simple assembly mistake by Orbital ATK could have caused the explosion, which destroyed a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station.
Spacewalking astronauts rig station for new U.S. space taxis. A pair of U.S. astronauts floated outside the International Space Station on Saturday to begin rigging parking spots for two commercial space taxis. Station commander Barry “Butch” Wilmore, 52, and flight engineer Terry Virts, 47, left the station’s Quest airlock shortly before 8 a.m. EST/1300 GMT to begin a planned 6-1/2-hour spacewalk, the first of three outings over the next eight days.