Six seconds into its last departure for the ISS, Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket exploded. Last night, the newly-redesigned Antares passed its first hurdle to getting back in the air again, ahead of its planned blast off for the space station in July.
At the time of its explosion nearly two years ago, the Antares rocket was hauling 5,000 pounds of supplies, which were also lost in the blast. That incident pretty much ended Antares’ ISS runs while Orbital ATK redesigned the engine that researchers blamed for the malfunction.
Last night’s test marks the first time that the redesigned engine was fired up at full power in a “hot fire” test—which, as you see above, went off without a hitch. With this milestone passed, things are looking good for Antares.
Though the test appears to have been a success, we won’t know for sure until engineers give the engine a through checkup to see that nothing was damaged during the test. Still, if everything looks as good as it seemed to last night, we should finally see Antares making its way back into space very soon.