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calendar   Tuesday - October 28, 2014

Prang!

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not today, sorry




Space station support rocket crashes and explodes on launch

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(CNN)—An unmanned NASA-contracted rocket exploded in midair early Tuesday evening, producing huge flames and loud booms along the eastern Virginia coast but no injuries or deaths.

Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft had been set to launch at 6:22 p.m. ET from the Wallops Flight Facility along the Atlantic Ocean, carrying roughly 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

It exploded about six seconds after launch.

What was left of the spacecraft and rocket plummeted back to Earth, causing even more flames upon impact.

The rocket and spacecraft—which together cost more than $200 million, according to Frank Culbertson, the general manager of Orbital’s Advanced Programs Group—are gone. And there’s obvious damage beyond that, including to the launchpad, though the night skies made it hard to immediately gauge how much.

One thing officials do know is that rocket science is, in the words of NASA Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier, “a really tough business.”

NASA contracted. Right.

It lights off, goes up about 75 yards, loses thrust and slips back down. Boom. The first stage was said to have broken apart. Be glad it was just a cargo shot.




Rocketry is dangerous. Always was. Always will be.

So what happened?

That’s exactly what officials—both from public agencies like NASA and private companies like Orbital—hope to find out in the coming days and weeks.

“What we know so far is pretty much what everybody saw on the video,” Culbertson said. “The ascent stopped, there was some, let’s say disassembly, of the first stage, and then it fell to Earth. ... We don’t really have any early indications of exactly what might have failed, and we need some time to look at that.”

Orbital will lead the investigation, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, with NASA assisting.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/28/2014 at 10:38 PM   
Filed Under: • Space •  
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