Unmanned Antares Rocket Launched by NASA Explodes

An unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket explodes shortly after takeoff at Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014. (Photo: Jay Diem, AP)
An unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket explodes shortly after takeoff at Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014.
(Photo: Jay Diem, AP)

An unmanned rocket headed for the International Space Station to deliver supplies exploded on launch from Wallops Island, Va., Tuesday.

The Antares rocket supplied by contractor Orbital Sciences blew up six seconds after liftoff at NASA’s space launch facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the space agency said.

NASA and Orbital Sciences were gathering data to determine the cause of the failure of the Orbital CRS-3, the space agency said.

“There has been a vehicle anomaly,” Orbital Sciences, the contractor supplying the rocket, said on its Twitter feed.

The rocket had been scheduled for takeoff on Monday night but the launch was postponed when a boat entered a hazard area down range.The launch was to have begun a fourth space station delivery for the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences.

The Antares rocket was scheduled to launch at 6:22 p.m. The rocket was intended to propel the Cygnus vehicle, packed with 5,050 pounds of cargo, to rendezvous with the space station.

The company says no one was believed to be hurt and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities.There are no reports of injuries and all people at the launch site are accounted for, NASA said.

Flames could be seen shooting into the sky as the sun set in video of the launch.

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.

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SOURCE: USA Today –¬†Doyle Rice and William M. Welch

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