NASA Antares Rocket Explodes on Launch, But Zero Casualties are Reported
Just six seconds after launching on Wallops Island, Virginia, Tuesday afternoon, NASA's Antares rocket exploded mid-air. The vessel was packed with 5,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station, but, luckily, was unmanned. And, according to the NASA scanner, no people on the ground were injured following the explosion — the launch director only reported property and vehicle damage nearby. As for the reason for the rocket's explosion? NASA reports a "catastrophic anomaly," but little else is known at this time.
Antares was plagued with problems since Monday afternoon, when it was intended to launch. As The Washington Post reports, Monday's launch was scrapped during countdown after a sailboat entered the rocket's range. But, as the Post noted in their report on Monday,
A safety range or launch hazard area of about 1,400 square miles is set up around the launch site so that in case of a failure, no one is at risk.
Indeed, NASA, and everyone watching, is relieved no one was harmed by the eventual explosion. The agency has already spoken out about Antares' failure, minutes following the explosion. As NASA spokesman Jay Bolden said,
There was failure on launch ... There was no indicated loss of life ... There was significant property and vehicle damage. Mission control is trying to assess what went wrong.
NASA is securing the area to further investigate the explosion, and an investigation is needed. Orbital Science Corporation's Executive Vice President Frank Culbertson said "it's far too early to know the details of what happened," and "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 ... 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 added in a statement:
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.
As ABC notes, Antares' launch team "had not been tracking any known issues."
A live feed is embedded below.
BuzzFeed captured a Vine of the actual explosion:
And here's video of the explosion as well:
And an additional video, shot from a plane:
Not quite the required viewing NASA wanted you to see.