- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Orbital Sciences unmanned rocket scheduled to launch at 6:28 p.m. Tuesday night from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia exploded on the launch pad shortly after takeoff.

NASA had contracted with Orbital Sciences to deliver 5,000 of supplies to the International Space Station. The launch of the Antares rocket was scrubbed Monday night after a sailboat ended up in the restricted launch range, NBC reported.

On Tuesday, the rocket suffered a “catastrophic failure” shortly after liftoff, according to a statement released by Orbital Sciences. The rocket was unmanned, and no injures have been reported as a result of the explosion, and property damage was limited to the south end of Wallops Island.

“It is far too early to know the details of what happened,” said Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s executive vice president and general manager of its advanced programs group in a statement issued by the company.

The company said the cause of the incident was unclear and that they have formed anomaly investigation board to look coordinate with the government and look into the issue.



“We will conduct a thorough investigation immediately to determine the cause of this failure and what steps can be taken to avoid a repeat of this incident. As soon as we understand the cause we will begin the necessary work to return to flight to support our customers and the nation’s space program,” Mr. Culbertson said.

NASA took to Twitter shortly after the incident and said that Orbital Sciences was not tracking issues prior to the explosion, and that it would provide updates as they become available.

 

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