In case you have read any news lately, about a week ago, the Orbital Science Antares rocket malfunctioned and exploded. Fortunately no one was injured, but the incident cost more than $200 Million and will more than likely set Orbital back another 4 years in development.
The interesting factor here is that this incident could have been easily avoided. During a 2012 interview with Wired Magazine Elong Musk spoke in regards to the Orbital Rocket design saying “their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke. It uses Russian rocket engines that were made in the ’60s.” In essence, Orbital was using old rocket engines used in the soviet era in order to save money on new manufacturing.
Musk is Orbital’s greatest commercial space exploration competitor. NASA chose to hire Orbital, and clearly neglected Musk’s input. When expertise is ignored, things tend to go awry…