Antares rocket explodes on liftoff from Wallops Island - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side


Antares rocket explodes on liftoff from Wallops Island

WALLOPS ISLAND, VA (WWBT) - About six seconds after lifting off in a rescheduled launch from Wallops Island, an Antares rocket loaded with supplies and experiments for the International Space Station exploded in a fireball.

NASA mission control workers were advising staff to remain at their desks. The rocket was unmanned, and a NASA spokesperson heard on the NASA TV broadcast confirmed there were no injuries sustained by anyone as a result of the explosion.

NASA reports significant property and vehicle damage.

"It is far too early to know the details of what happened, said Frank Culbertson, executive vice president and general manager of the Advanced Programs Group at Orbital, the company that built the rocket. "As we begin to gather information, our primary concern lies with the ongoing safety and security of those involved in our response and recovery operations. 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." Read Orbital's complete statement here.

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Monday's launch was canceled with ten minutes left in the countdown due to a boat that had come too close to the launch site.

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