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Unmanned NASA Rocket Explodes in US

Posted by on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 11:02
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An unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from a commercial launch pad in Virginia on Tuesday, marking the first accident since NASA turned to private operators to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.

NASA Rocket Explodes

NASA Rocket Explodes

The 14-story rocket, built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corp, blasted off its seaside launch pad at the Wallops Flight Facility at 6:22 p.m, carrying a Cygnus cargo ship bound for the space station. It burst into flames moments later, then plunged to the ground in a huge ball of fire and smoke, but authorities said no one was hurt.

The six crew members in orbit aboard the space station – two NASA astronauts, one from the European Space Agency and three Russian cosmonauts – watched the launch via a NASA TV feed, said Mike Suffredini, the space station program manager.

“They were disappointed … of course they are well aware that they have plenty of resources on orbit,” Suffredini told reporters during a conference call.

With a Russian cargo ship due to reach the space station on Wednesday, just 14 hours after the explosion in Virginia, the loss of the Cygnus vessel posed no immediate problem for the orbiting team.

“There was no cargo that was absolutely critical” aboard Cygnus, NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier said. Suffredini added that the crew has enough food and other supplies aboard to last four to six months.

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