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Space Station Supply Rocket ORB-3 Explodes 11 Seconds After Takeoff

A US supply rocket destined for the International Space Station exploded Tuesday evening only 11 seconds after takeoff. The rocket, built and launched by the privately owned company Orbital Sciences caught fire and exploded right after leaving the launch pad. Luckily this was an unmanned Antares rocket, so no lives were lost in the resulting explosion. The International Space Station will have to make due in the meantime without the additional supplies.

Space Station Supply Rocket ORB-3 Explodes 11 Seconds After Takeoff

The crew of the International Space Station will be receiving supplies from a Russian rocket that was launched just hours later. These new supplies should hold the crew over until another rocket can be scheduled for launch. The Russian program has proven reliable at delivering supplies to the Space Station over the years, and today’s launch will make up for many of the supplies lost in the US rocket explosion.

Residents in nearby Virginia were able to feel the sound wave from the rockets explosion, which produced an unexpected boom that startled residents. Since the rocket’s explosion was virtually contained to the immediate launchpad area there is no suspected civilian damage caused as a result of the loss.

This explosion marks the first time that a private company has lost a rocket since NASA allowed private companies to take over the duties of resupplying the International Space Station. The launch had already been delayed since Monday after the launch pad zone’s safety was compromised by a boat travelling in the launch pads zone. There is currently no explanation for the actual cause of the explosion, but investigators are already at the scene documenting the wreckage and inspecting the debris.

There is also no word on whether today’s explosion will have an impact on Orbital Sciences’ contract with NASA.

Orbital Sciences Explosion

Orbital Sciences ORB-3 Supply Mission explodes seconds after takeoff. (Image from NASA TV)

Space Station Supply Rocket ORB-3 Explodes 11 Seconds After Takeoff.

About Steven Kenniff

Lives in Phoenix, AZ. Graduated from Arizona State University in 2005. Writes for American Live Wire, GM Roadster and Northstar Media