Funding to Run Out for Repairs to Launch Pad on Wallops
The pad was damaged on October 28th when the Anteres rocket exploded seconds after lift off.
Congress passed a bill that includes 20 million dollars for repairs.
Money allocated by Congress late last year has not arrived. Dale Nash, executive director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority, told a legislative subcommittee Wednesday he is "about two weeks away from getting to the point we can't go further." The spaceport was damaged October 28, 2014 when a rocket carrying cargo for the International Space Station exploded. According to Nash, "We really can't go and finish without funding."
Officials say the delay is tied to carrying out the omnibus spending bill's $20 million appropriation for NASA to ensure that the money goes to repair of the spaceport, which operates at the national space agency's Wallops Island Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore.
The commercial flights are governed by a memorandum of understanding and launch services agreement the Commonwealth reached with Orbital Sciences Corporation in 2009 and then revised in 2012. That latest agreement did not provide for insurance of the state's roughly $100 million investment in the launch pad.
The damaged caused by the explosion of Orbital's Antares rocket forced the company to look for other options to launch commercial flights to resupply the space station under a contract with NASA.
Orbital Sciences Corporation is planning to contract with the commercial flight facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida, to launch at least one supply mission by the end of the year with an option for another.
But tomorrow is the deadline for NASA to receive that money and it hasn't not been released.