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News

The vehicle suffered a “catastrophic failure ”

  • Author:Lisa
  • Source:www.tigloncn.com
  • Release on :2014-10-31
A privately operated cargo flight to the international space station blew up on launch in Virginia on Tuesday evening, dealing a significant blow to corporate efforts to develop their share of the lucrative market launching government cargoes.

The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies to the station, had been due to take off from Nasa’s Wallops Island Flight Facility on Tuesday evening at 6.22pm.

But the live stream meant to show the rocket heading into the sky over the Atlantic instead showed a mangled mess of steel and flames where the rocket fell after exploding on take-off.

There was no immediate explanation on the cause of the failure of what would have been Orbital Sciences’ third flight to the station. Shortly after lift-off, the vehicle suffered a “catastrophic failure”, Orbital said in a statement.

The International Space Station’s Twitter feed said there had been an “accident” six seconds after lift-off.

“It is far too early to know the details of what happened,” said Mr. Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s vice-president. “We will conduct a thorough investigation immediately to determine the cause of this failure and what steps can be taken to avoid a repeat of this incident.”

The incident is bound to raise new concerns about the risks of entrusting government cargoes to private companies operating relatively new rocket systems.

“This is a severe blow to Orbital Sciences and to the Obama Administration’s reliance on commercial launch providers to sustain the International Space Station” said Loren Thompson, analyst at the Virginia-based Lexington Institute. “Coming on the heels of a SpaceX launch failure in August, it raises basic questions about the viability of the NASA’s resupply strategy for the space station.”

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