Unmanned rocket bound for ISS explodes just seconds after launch.
An Antares unmanned rocket, bound for the International Space Station, exploded just after lift-off only minutes ago.
The rocket was contracted by NASA, and the design, launch, and logistics were all handled by the rocket’s manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corporation. This would have been the fourth trip made to the ISS by an unmanned Antares rocket, which has made three successful launches and dockings with the station since September 2013 (with its inaugural test launch, flight was in April 2013). The launch took place at the Wallops Island, Virginia-based Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
NASA spokesperson Jay Bolden has confirmed there was no loss of life in the explosion, but “there was significant property and vehicle damage,” due to the explosion. The cause of the explosion has yet to be determined.
The 2.5 tons worth of cargo on board the Antares rocket included science experimentation hardware, crew supplies, vehicle/station hardware, and spacewalking supplies. The full gear list can be seen here.
Orbital Sciences Corporation is one of two contractors signed with NASA to conduct ISS missions; the other is Elon Musk’s SpaceX Corporation.