"Their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke."

Antares rocket was powered by Soviet-era engines from the 1960s

#Space

Wed, Oct 29th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Antares rocket explosion was probably caused by the Soviet-era engines used by Orbital Sciences. Built in the 1960s, the power plants just sat in storage when the previous iteration failed to launch the "mighty N1 Soviet rocket," leaving some to question why they're still being used today. Above, the video by Brad Panovich, who was recording the live NASA feed when the explosion happened.

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Orbital’s competitor SpaceX, has long warned against using such decades-old technology. Calling it one of the “pretty silly things going on in the market,” he told Wired last year some aerospace firms rely on parts “developed in the 1960s” rather than “better technology.” He called out Orbital Sciences in particular. It “has a contract to resupply the International Space Station, and their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke,” he said. “It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s. I don’t mean their design is from the ’60s — I mean they start with engines that were literally made in the ’60s and, like, packed away in Siberia somewhere.”

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