Last evening an unmanned Antares rocket blew up at launch at Wallops Space Flight Center. No injuries were reported. Actually the rocket failed a few seconds after launch and the The Range Safety Officer detonated the on board explosives to destruct the rocket before it deviated into a populated area. When I toured the launch site about 18 months ago I brought this question up to the Orbital officials which is the private company managing the rocket and the payload destined to to the International Space Station (ISS). Safety is a major concern for NASA and Orbital and last evening's events proved it. By the way, the rocket is an old Russian based vehicle with huge amount of power.
Today's post is shared from nytimes.com/
An unmanned cargo rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded seconds after liftoff Tuesday night.
The Antares rocket, carrying 5,055 pounds of supplies, science experiments and equipment, lifted off on schedule at 6:22 p.m. from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia.
But soon after it rose into the sky, there was a flash of an explosion. “The ascent stopped,” Frank L. Culbertson Jr., the executive vice president of Orbital Sciences Corporation, the maker of the rocket, said during a news conference Tuesday. “There was some disassembly of the first stage, it looked like, and then it fell to earth.”
No one was injured.
Orbital, based in Dulles, Va., first launched a 14-story-high Antares rocket on its maiden flight in April last year. It then conducted a demonstration flight to the space station to show NASA the capabilities of the rocket and the cargo spacecraft. Then came two more flights carrying cargo to the space station, part of a program in which NASA has hired private companies to ferry cargo to the space station. Tuesday’s launch would have been the third of eight cargo missions under a $1.9 billion contract.
Orbital will lead an investigation. Mr. Culbertson said the company would not launch another Antares rocket until it had identified and corrected the problem.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., of Hawthorne, Calif., known as SpaceX, has successfully flown four cargo missions to the space...