USA Today – by Doyle Rice and William M. Welch
An unmanned rocket headed for the International Space Station to deliver supplies exploded on launch from Wallops Island, Va., Tuesday.
The Antares rocket supplied by contractor Orbital Sciences blew up six seconds after liftoff, NASA said.
NASA and Orbital Sciences were gathering data to determine the cause of the failure of the Orbital CRS-3, the space agency said.
“There has been a vehicle anomaly,” Orbital Sciences, the contractor supplying the rocket, said on its Twitter feed.
The rocket had been scheduled for takeoff on Monday night but the mission was scrubbed. The launch was to have begun a fourth space station delivery for the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences.
The Antares rocket was scheduled to launch at 6:22 p.m. The rocket was intended to propel the Cygnus vehicle, packed with 5,050 pounds of cargo, to rendezvous with the space station.
The company says no one was believed to be hurt and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities.
Flames could be seen shooting into the sky as the sun set in video of the launch.
The Cygnus cargo ship was loaded with 5,000 pounds of gear for the six people living on the space station. It was the fourth Cygnus bound for the orbiting lab; the first flew just over a year ago.
Among the cargo were more than a dozen student research projects, including an experiment from students at Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston to test the performance of pea shoot growth in space.
NASA is paying the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences and the California-based SpaceX company to keep the space station stocked in the post-shuttle era. This is the first disaster in that effort.
Contributing: Donna Leinwand Leger; Associated Press
2 thoughts on “Unmanned Antares rocket explodes on launch”
“NASA and Orbital Sciences were gathering data to determine the cause of the failure of the Orbital CRS-3, the space agency said.”
Cheap Chinese parts.
Or Chinese controlled chips?
Makes you wonder if there was some kind of secret cargo in it and someone was trying to prevent it from reaching the space station.