Via NTDTV: A journalist from a space education publication captured on video the moment an unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after lift-off from a commercial launch pad in Virginia on Tuesday.
The footage of Tuesday’s launch showed the Antares rising slowly into the night sky as flames suddenly engulfed the rocket, from the bottom to the top about 11 seconds after liftoff, before the vehicle sank back downward in a conflagration.
It’s the first accident since NASA turned to private operators to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
The launch was filmed by a journalist from Zero-G News as he watched the launch.
The 14-story rocket, built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corp, blasted off its seaside launch pad at the Wallops Flight Facility at 6:22 p.m. EDT/2222 GMT, carrying a Cygnus cargo ship bound for the space station. It burst into flames moments later, then plunged to the ground in a huge ball of fire and smoke, but authorities said no one was hurt.
The six crew members in orbit aboard the space station – two NASA astronauts, one from the European Space Agency and three Russian cosmonauts – watched the launch via a NASA TV feed, said Mike Suffredini, the space station program manager.
With a Russian cargo ship due to reach the space station on Wednesday, just 14 hours after the explosion in Virginia, the loss of the Cygnus vessel posed no immediate problem for the orbiting team.
Orbital Sciences stock fell 15.5 percent to a two-month low of $25.65 in after-hours trading.
The cause of the mishap was under investigation, said Frank Culbertson, Orbital Sciences executive vice president.
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