Unmanned US rocket Antares explodes on liftoff in Virginia: NASA

Photo by Reuters

In Virginia on Tuesday,An unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from a commercial launch pad, so it is the first accident since NASA turned to private operators to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. The cause of the cargo ship malfunction has yet to be determined.
Orbital sciences Corp built this 14-story rocket, blasted off its seaside launch pad at the Wallops Flight Facility at 6:22 p.m. EDT carrying a Cygnus cargo ship for the space station. It exploded in a huge fireball moments later.
Orbital Sciences stock was down 12.74 percent after hours, or down $3.87 at $26.50.
According to NASA mission commentator Dan Huot cause of the accident was not immediately known.
There were no report of injury by Huot and Accomack County Sheriff's spokeswoman added, "As far as we know, all personnel are accounted for and everyone's OK."
No-one was injured, said Mr Culbertson, and an investigation team was going through the data to try to establish the cause.
He added it was possible his company's staff had triggered the rocket's destruct mechanism after the launch went wrong, but that he was not certain.
On Wednesday morning, he said, the examination of debris around the site would begin.
Russia's space agency conducted its own launch to the ISS on Wednesday.
The operation, which by chance was on the same day as the Antares launch, was planned long before Wednesday's accident, officials said.
"These are actually modified Russian-built power units that were originally developed for the ill-fated Soviet Moon rocket, the N-1.
"They have been refurbished to modern standards, but one blew up in ground testing earlier this year."
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