An unmanned rocket carrying about 5,000 pounds of supplies bound for the International Space Station exploded seconds after its launch Tuesday night, sending millions of dollars of equipment up in flames.
The space technology company Orbital Sciences said its Orbital CRS-3 rocket failed because of a “vehicle anomaly.” An investigation board will determine the exact cause of the failure.
No one was injured in the explosion, which happened at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
Orbital Sciences is one of two companies NASA is using to bring supplies to the ISS, according to Reuters. This flight was its third of eight planned under a $US1.9 billion contract with the space agency.
About a third of the cargo on the rocket was to be used for science experiments, according to NASA. The rocket was also carrying spacewalk equipment, flight crew equipment, books on flight procedure, and food.
Despite the rocket explosion, the ISS crew was in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies, NASA said.
Reuters has a sequence of photos showing the progression of the explosion. The rocket exploded a few seconds after launch and then fell back to the ground. See the photos below:
Video of the rocket explosion has also appeared on YouTube:
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