An unmanned Antares rocket ferrying supplies to the International Space Station exploded Tuesday just six seconds after liftoff at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops, Virginia. No personnel were near the rocket when it exploded, and no injuries have been reported by NASA.
The Antares rocket appeared to abruptly lose upward momentum after it launched, falling back toward the ground before exploding in mid-air.
The Antares — a medium-lift rocket — was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft packed with about 5,000 pounds of cargo to take to the International Space Station. NASA confirmed at 6:45pm ET that all personnel were accounted for. Officials on NASA TV reported significant property and vehicle damage.
This footage was recorded from a live broadcast on NASA TV.
This video was tweeted to us by a reader. It shows a crowd of onlookers reacting to the explosion.
This footage was geotagged to NASA's Wallops Island in Virginia.
This video shows the explosion from East Point, Virginia.
The launch of the unmanned rocket had already been rescheduled once, and was delayed Tuesday evening because of the presence of a small boat on the river nearby. After the explosion, local radar showed smoke billowing across the surrounding skies in Virginia.
The rocket was designed by Orbital Sciences Corporation under a contract with NASA. It was first launched on April 21, 2013.
The Cygnus was expected to remain in orbit for several days before reaching the International Space Station on November 2, when Station crew were set to use a robotic arm to grapple the spacecraft into port. Station astronauts had planned to unpack provisions, hardware, and science experiments, then reload the rocket with trash that would have eventually burned up in the atmosphere upon reentry.
Live coverage can be viewed on NASA TV.
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