Unmanned rocket with ISS supplies explodes shortly after launch
PHOENIX — An unmanned rocket intended to carry supplies to the International Space Station exploded Tuesday just after take-off.
Orbital Sciences Corp.’s unmanned rocket blew up over the launch complex at
Wallops Island, Virginia, just six seconds after liftoff.
Video from the crash showed the rocket take off before igniting seconds later and falling from the sky.
A NASA statement said no injuries were reported, but there was extensive property damage.
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.
NASA spokesman Rob Navias said there was nothing urgently needed by the space
station crew on that flight. In fact, the Russian Space Agency was proceeding
with its own supply run on Wednesday.
The launch was originally scheduled for Monday but was called off after a boat was spotted down range.
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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.