Precise work of Ukrainians to build the first stage of the space rocket was compared to heart transplantation.
The Space Flight Center at Wallops Island in the United States successfully tested Antares rocket, the first stage of which was developed by Ukraine.
The stage was designed in Yuzhnoye Design Office, and produced in Southern Machine-Building Plant (Yuzhmash) in Dnepr city. After the explosion of the rocket engine during the launch a year and a half ago, it was necessary to replace the “problem” element. Ukrainian designers changed the stage of the rocket so that it could work with a completely different engine, not intended for already finished designs. Ukrainians also actively participated in the firing tests.
“We were required to partially disassemble finished products to modify them, and to assemble them back so that they can work with the new engine. Such a work is extremely difficult, and in painstaking it can be compared to heart transplantation,” the Chief Designer Maxim Degtyarev said.
After successful ground firing test of the first stage, a test launch of the carrier rocket is scheduled. The first launch of an updated Antares is planned for the middle of July 2016.
The Antares rocket is intended to deliver cargo weighing up to 6.8 tons to the space station. It was developed by American company Orbital Sciences Corporation. On October 28, 2014 after a few seconds after the start, Antares exploded. Ground tests with the Ukrainian stage were the first success in 2 years.