According to a preliminary probe by the rocket's maker, the explosion of a rocket carrying an unmanned spacecraft bound for the International Space Station last month was likely caused by a failure in the decades-old, Soviet-made engines.
As a result, Orbital Sciences Corp. announced Wednesday it would likely retire the Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 engines for future resupply missions to the ISS. No one was injured when the Anteres launch vehicle exploded on the launch pad at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia on October 28. Orbital said in a statement,
"Preliminary evidence and analysis conducted to date points to a probable turbopump-related failure in one of the two Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 stage one main engines. As a result, the use of these engines for the Antares vehicle likely will be discontinued."