It was a bad day to be this unmanned Antares rocket. As you can see, just seconds after lifting off from a Virginia launch pad the Antares exploded in a massive fireball.
Built by Orbital Sciences Corp, the rocket was on a commercial resupply mission destined for the International Space Station, but as you can imagine those supplies won’t be making it there.
Good news though, officials said no one was hurt when the Antares exploded on launch.
Here’s the official statement from Orbital Sciences:
ORBITAL’S STATEMENT REGARDING ORB-3 LAUNCH MISHAP
Orbital Sciences Corporation confirms that today’s Antares rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility was not successful. Shortly after lift-off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at 6:22 p.m. (EDT), the vehicle suffered a catastrophic failure. According to NASA’s emergency operations officials, there were no casualties and property damage was limited to the south end of Wallops Island. Orbital has formed an anomaly investigation board, which will work in close coordination with all appropriate government agencies, to determine the cause of today’s mishap.
“It is far too early to know the details of what happened,” said Mr. Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Advanced Programs Group.“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.”
Orbital will provide more information as it becomes available and is verified.