The Antares rocket with Russian engines is preparing for its first flight

Tonight will see the first test flight of the American medium-class Antares rocket, launching from the NASA space center (Virginia, USA). The first stage of the rocket has NK-33/AJ26 engines, developed and manufactured in Russia. The NASA website will show a direct broadcast of the launch.

A delegation from the United Engine Corporation (UEC) including the general director Vladislav Masalov, the managing director of Kuznetsov Nikolai Yakushin, and chief designer of the NK-33 engine Valery Danilchenko arrived yesterday at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia. Here, on the complex on Wallops Island, on the night of April 17-18, 2013, the first experimental flight of the medium-class Antares rocket  developed by the American corporation Orbital Sciences to deliver freight to the International Space Station will launch.

The first stage of the Antares rocket has NK-33/AJ26 engines, modified by the American engine-building company Aerojet. Technical support for the NK-33/AJ26 adaptation is being provided by specialists from the Samara Company Kuznetsov (part of UEC). The company has developed and manufactured this engine.

At present the Antares rocket is on the launch pad. As part of the test launch, the rocket will fly a 603 second mission. The program for the experimental flight envisages the rocket carrying a simulated actual load to a planned orbit (250×300 km high) with an angle of travel of 51.6 degrees.

The launched can be viewed in real time on the NASA website at: http://www.nasa.gov/

The estimated time of launch is 01:00, Moscow time, on April 18, 2013.

If the goals set for the test launch are achieved, a second launch of the rocket with a real load will take place. The date and time will be announced at a later date.

Managing Company JSC United Engine Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of OBORONPROM. More than 85 % of the leading companies specializing in development, mass production, and aftersales servicing of gas turbine technology are integrated into UEC, as well as key companies in other selected fields. One of UECs priority directions is implementing comprehensive programs for developing companies by implementing new technologies that meet international standards

OBORONPROM is a multi-faceted machine-building group of companies established in 2002. It is part of the Russian Technologies group of companies. Its primary activities include helicopter building (Russian Helicopters), engine-building (UEC), and other assets.

Rostech is a Russian corporation founded in 2007 to facilitate development, production, and export of high-tech industrial products for civil and military applications. Altogether, Russian Technologies encompasses 663 organizations. The corporation includes 17 holdings, 12 of which are in the military-industrial complex, and five of which are in civilian industry. The corporation works in 60 constituent entities of the Russian Federation and supplies products to more than 70 countries around the world. It employs over 900,000 people, or about 2 % of Russian labour force. Its 2011 net profit was 45.6 billion rubles, and it paid a total of 100 billion rubles in taxes at all levels.