It will be "weeks" before a failure review board reports its findings on what caused an Orbital ATK Antares launch vehicle to fail seconds after lifting off from its Wallops Island, Virginia., pad on Oct. 28, 2014.

To fulfill its NASA contract to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, the company says it is on track with plans to use a United Launch Alliance Atlas V to lift its next Cygnus pressurized cargo carrier to the station this fall. And it is moving ahead with plans to refly the medium-lift vehicle on a cargo mission to the ISS in March 2016.

"Roughly this time next year, or within at least a couple of weeks of this time next year, the next Cygnus will be launched on the upgraded Antares from Wallops Island," Dave Thompson, president and CEO of the newly merged company, told analysts in a conference call Feb. 19. "The target date for that is the 1st of March next year."

That vehicle is scheduled to fly with a new Russian engine – the RD-181 – that the company already has ordered from NPO Energomash. A company spokesman said Feb. 23 the new engines are in production in Russia, with the first two-engine shipset expected for delivery to Orbital ATK this summer. A second shipset is due in the fall, according to the spokesman.

The new engine will replace surplus Soviet-era NK-33 engines refurbished and modified by Aerojet Rocketdyne for the Antares as the AJ-26. Thompson has said his company was looking for an AJ-26 replacement before the launch failure because of long-term supply issues and static-test anomalies during acceptance tests at Stennis Space Center, including a May 22, 2014, explosion.

Orbital ATK selected the RD-181 after an international search, without waiting for its accident investigation board to report on the launch failure. Citing "two people familiar with investigations into the accident," Reuters reported Feb. 20 that foreign object debris within the Antares stack may have triggered the engine failure that cut the vehicle’s thrust shortly after liftoff and allowed it to fall back toward the pad.

The company spokesman said the final accident report will come in "weeks rather than months." Meanwhile, Orbital ATK is planning to hot-fire test the first Antares main stage with the RD-181s installed on the Wallops Island pad, "probably in January" 2016.

"We’re going to take the first stage of Antares out to the launch pad with the new engines and do a flight readiness firing, somewhat similar to what we did back in early 2013, in advance of the first Antares flight," Thompson told the analysts. "But other than that, unless something came up there that was surprising, we should then be able to proceed pretty expeditiously to the first launch of the re-engineered vehicle in March of next year, and that will have a full cargo load on board."

The new engines – a variant of the RD-180 used on the Atlas V – will also be tested in Russia before they are shipped, according to the Orbital ATK spokesman, who said the company does not plan acceptance tests of the new engine at Stennis.