US rocket explodes seconds after launch
Updated: 2014-10-29 09:36
An unmanned Antares rocket is seen exploding seconds after lift off from a commercial launch pad in this still image from NASA video at Wallops Island, Virginia, Oct 28, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
WASHINGTON - An unmanned rocket operated by private US firm Orbital Sciences Corp. exploded Tuesday seconds after its launch, NASA TV showed.
The Antares rocket carrying the company's Cygnus spacecraft blew up six seconds after its liftoff at 6:22 pm EDT (2222 GMT) from US space agency NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia.
"There has been a vehicle anomaly. We will update as soon as we are able," Orbital tweeted.
TV footage showed flames rising into the sky. The cause of the explosion remains unclear.
No injuries have been reported, NASA said, adding all personnel around the Wallops Flight Facility launch site have been accounted for.
It was believed that the damage was only limited to the facilities.
Cygnus is carrying 5,050 pounds (2,290 kilograms) of supplies for its third cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.
One of the new experiments on board is the so-called Drain Brain investigation, a study that will try to determine how blood flows from the brain down to the heart in the absence of gravity.
Also on board is a device called the Meteor Composition Determination (Meteor), which will enable the first space-based observations of meteors entering Earth's atmosphere.
The mission also includes a multitude of student research.
The rocket was originally set to launch Monday, but a boat which sailed into the restricted launch area caused NASA to postpone it until Tuesday.
This mission is the third of eight Orbital flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station, and the fourth trip by Antares and Cygnus to the orbiting laboratory.
Besides Orbital, NASA has also signed a deal with another private company called SpaceX to supply cargo to the space station.
An unmanned Antares rocket is seen exploding seconds after lift off from a commercial launch pad in this combination of still images from NASA video at Wallops Island, Virginia, Oct 28, 2014. The 14-story rocket, built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corp, bolted off its seaside launch pad at the Wallops Flight Facility at 6:22 pm EDT/2222 GMT. It exploded seconds later. The cause of the accident was not immediately available. [Photo/Agencies]
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