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NASA Completes First Review of Wallops Launch Site Damage

By | October 30, 2014
      Wallops Island Antares NASA Orbital Sciences

      NASA’s Wallops Island Va. launch site the day after Orbital Sciences’ Antares launch failure. Photo: NASA/Terry Zaperach

      [Via Satellite 10-30-2014] NASA’s Wallops Incident Response Team has concluded its preliminary assessment of the launch pad at Wallops Island, Va. following Orbital Sciences’ Oct. 28 Antares launch vehicle explosion. Initial findings show the damage was largely contained to the southern third of the island. The team discovered imploded doors and shattered windows at many nearby support buildings. The closest buildings and a sounding rocket launcher adjacent to the pad were the most affected infrastructure. The transporter erector launcher and lightning suppression rods at Pad 0A were also damaged.

      Several environmental tests are currently underway. Air samples from three different sites detected no hazardous substances, and the U.S. Coast Guard and Virginia Marine Resources Commission have not observed obvious signs of water pollution, such as oil sheens. More testing of air, water, and soil samples are planned for comparative analysis.

      The response team will take several weeks to continue evaluating the extent and influence of the damage. Local authorities such as the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Virginia Marine Police are also involved. NASA cautions anyone who discovers debris from the explosion to keep distance and report it to the Incident Response Team at 757-824-1295.