On January 9, 2014, at 1:06 pm local time (20:06 Kyiv time) Antares space rocket was successfully launched for the third time from the NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The first stage of the rocket was designed and manufactured by the Ukrainian State Enterprises Pivdennyi Machine-Building Plant and Pivdenne Design Bureau in cooperation with Hartron-ARKOS (Kharkiv), Kyivprylad (Kyiv), Hartron-UCOM (Zaporizhzhya), Chezara and Rapid (Chernihiv) and other Ukrainian hi-tech companies. According to the long-term contract until 2018 with an American company Orbital Sciences Corporation, these companies also took part in preparations for the launch of the space rocket. Funding for the program is provided by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Antares space rocket orbited cargo ship Cygnus, which should deliver about 1,600 kg of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS), including food, spare parts for the ISS and scientific equipment for more than two dozen experiments. As a secondary payload into the orbit were launched 28 «Flock» space crafts and nano-satellites «ArduSat 2», «LituanicaSAT 1», «LitSat 1», «SkyCube», «UAPSat 1».
It is planned that by the end of 2016 seven more launches will be performed to deliver cargo to ISS.
The launch ceremony was attended by the representatives of the Embassy of Ukraine to the U.S., Ukrainian design companies, leadership of NASA and «Orbital Sciences Corporation» as well as other companies participating in the project.
Another successful launch of the Antares proved the reliability and high-quality of Ukrainian high-tech production, as well as of further development of mutually beneficial U.S.-Ukrainian relations in the aerospace sphere.
Photo of NASA
In the photo: the launch of Antares
Antares space launch vehicle is a project developed by the American company Orbital Sciences Corporation with the participation of contractor companies: State Enterprises of Ukraine Pivdennyi Machine-Building Plant and Pivdenne Design Bureau, Aerojet (USA), ATK (USA), and others.
NASA has involved the Orbital Sciences Corporation under the partnership agreement to participate in the creation of commercial delivery vehicles into orbit. The main purpose of Antares is to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The contract to create the program «Antares» cost 1.9 billion US dollars.
The first stage of Antares designed by the Ukrainian Pivdenne Design Bureau and produced by the Pivdennyi Machine-Building Plant. These enterprises work under long-term contract concluded in 2008 with Orbital Sciences Corporation until 2018. Pivdenne Design Bureau developed and controlled the manufacture of fuel tanks, high pressure tanks, valves, sensors, fuel supply system and supply pipes, wires and other related equipment of the first stage rocket booster.