In a shocking incident, an unmanned commercial rocket carrying crucial scientific cargo for the International Space Station (ISS) exploded moments after lift-off Tuesday evening.
Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket blew up over the launch complex at Wallops Island Facility in Virginia, just six seconds after lift-off.
“While NASA is disappointed that Orbital Sciences’ third contracted re-supply mission to the International Space Station was not successful today, we will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today’s mishap,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator of NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Directorate.
The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies, he added in a statement.
The third commercial re-supply flight by a Cygnus spacecraft to the ISS was to transport supplies such as food, tools, parts and experiments to the orbiting laboratory.
“Orbital has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first two missions to the station earlier this year, and we know they can replicate that success,” Gerstenmaier continued.
According to him, “The launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station.”
The ISS astronauts will now have to rely on supplies from a Russian launch planned for Wednesday.
(With inputs from IANS)