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American rocket with spacecraft carrying supplies for ISS blows up seconds after lift-off

NetIndian News Network

Washington, October 29, 2014

Orbital rocket explodes after launch
An unmanned American rocket carrying the Cygnus spacecraft that was to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) blew up in a ball of fire on Tuesday a few seconds after lift-off from Wallops Island in Virginia in the United States.
Orbital Sciences Corporation, a private company based in Dulles, Virginia, said in a statement that its 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," the statement said.
“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," Mr Culbertson added.
Mr William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate, said NASA was disappointed that  Orbital Sciences' third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station was not successful but made it clear that it would not deter them from their work.
"We will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today's mishap. The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies," he said.
“Orbital has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first two missions to the station earlier this year, and we know they can replicate that success. Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and we learn from each success and each setback. Today's launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station.”
NASA said damage related to the launch of the Antares rocket was contained to the hazard area, but there may have been a scattering of debris.
"Public safety is our No. 1 priority. If people find debris in the vicinity of the launch, please stay away and call the Incident Response Team at 757-824-1295," it said.
"Before launch @OrbitalSciences team wasn't tracking any issues. No injuries have been reported & all personnel around launch site accounted," a post on NASA's Twitter page said.
The Cygnus spacecraft was scheduled to berth with the ISS early in the morning of November 2.
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