Aerojet’s AJ26 rocket engine for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Taurus II space launch vehicle has undergone two successful test firings at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi with results so successful that Orbital engineers decided a planned third test was unnecessary.
The AJ26 flight unit will be tested in February, and then delivered to Orbital at the Wallops Flight Facility launch site in Virginia for integration with the rocket’s first stage core. The launch will depart from the commercial Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport operated by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.
Orbital’s Taurus II rocket will first be used to carry out commercial cargo supply mission to the International Space Station. Orbital is developing the cargo logistics system under the joint Commercial Orbital Transportation Services research and development project with NASA, and is scheduled to carry out the first of eight cargo missions under the Commercial Resupply Services contract beginning in early 2012. An orbital test flight is expected in 2011.