Atlas Launches, Antares Explodes: Some Lessons For Washington

October 30, 2014 3:59 PM

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It has been a week of ups and downs for America’s space community — literally. On October 28, an Antares launch vehicle being used by Orbital Sciences Corporation to ferry supplies to the International Space Station failed shortly after liftoff in Virginia, falling back onto the launch pad in a spectacular explosion. The very next day, an Atlas V booster operated by United Launch Alliance carried a Global Positioning System satellite into orbit — marking the 50th successful mission in a row using that type of launch vehicle.

(Disclosure: My think tank receives money from several companies that provide space technology and services, most notably Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing Boeing, Lockheed Martin Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada Corporation; Lockheed Martin and Sierra Nevada are consulting clients.)

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