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Antares rocket explodes moments after liftoff
Posted: Wed, Oct 29, 2014, 9:04 AM ET (1304 GMT)
Antares launch failure on Orb-3 mission (NASA) An Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket exploded seconds after lifting off from Virginia Tuesday evening, destroying the Cygnus cargo spacecraft it was carrying. The Antares lifted off on schedule at 6:22 pm EDT (2222 GMT) from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia, after a problem-free countdown. However, about ten seconds after liftoff, video of the launch showed an explosion at the base of the vehicle. The rocket fell to the ground and exploded. The Cygnus cargo spacecraft it was carrying was destroyed, and there appeared to be damage to the launch pad, although the extent of the pad damage was not clear Tuesday night. Orbital declined to speculate on the cause of the failure as its investigation begins, nor how long it will be before the vehicle returns to flight. The launch was the third of eight cargo missions Orbital was contracted to perform for NASA. Agency officials said that the ISS is in no danger of running low on food or other supplies despite the failure. The accident also destroyed a number of experiments being flown to the station, as well as nearly 30 small satellites that were to be deployed from the station.
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