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Orbital on Thursday said a preliminary investigation showed the failure initiated in the first stage of the rocket, which housed the AJ-26 engines, but it provided few additional details.
The Antares rocket was powered by a pair of Soviet-era NK-33 engines that were rebuilt by Aerojet Rocketdyne, a unit of GenCorp, and resold as AJ-26 engines. Even before the crash, Orbital had planned to switch to another engine given the age of the motors and uncertainty about future supplies.