The Antares, an unmanned two-stage cargo rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) exploded just seconds after the launch. The explosion took place at Wallops Island site of Virginia, the US on 28 October 2014.
In the incident, the first stage of Orbital Science's two-stage Antares rocket burst into flames as it rose from its launch pad.
The two-stage Antares rocket was carrying 32 satellites, company’s Cygnus capsule and food for the astronauts to ISS. According to NASA though no one was injured but 5500 pounds of cargo was destroyed. The launch was worth 125 million pounds.
This was the Orbital Science’s third official cargo mission to ISS for NASA under the terms of 1.9 billion US dollars contract under which the company was to send eight delivery missions. The Orbital Science Company first launched Antares rocket on its maiden flight in April 2013.
The explosion did not caused any immediate issues for the ISS since the Russian Space Agency’s robotic Progress 57 spacecraft was launched successfully from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 29 October 2014.
Orbital Science formed an accident investigation team with assistance from NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration of the US to find out the reasons for explosion.
Who: Cargo rocket Antares
What: exploded after launch
When: 28 October 2014