Officials say no one is injured after an unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from a commercial launch pad in Virginia. Nathan Frandino reports.
Fifteen seconds after liftoff, an explosion brought an unmanned Antares rocket falling to the ground Tuesday night. A fireball lit up the sky at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Officials expressed disappointment in the launch failure but gratitude that no one was injured. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FRANK CULBERTSON, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER OF ADVANCED PROGRAMS GROUP AT ORBITAL SCIENCES CORP., SAYING: "It's a tough time to lose a launch vehicle like this and its payload. It's not as tragic as losing a life associated with it so we're very happy to report there were no injuries and the safeguards both in flight and on the ground worked as they should have and all we lost was hardware." The incident marked the first accident since NASA turned to private operators to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. This rocket was built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corporation, which said it would conduct a thorough investigation. Officials say the damage appears limited to the launch facility and the rocket but won't know the full extent until daylight. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BILL WROBEL, DIRECTOR OF NASA'S WALLOPS FLIGHT FACILITY, SAYING: "Basically we've set up a perimeter as a result of it being dark out there. We know we've got some solid prepellant in the air. We're basically letting the fires burn out, but they are contained." Officials say the Space Station has enough supplies on board to last until early next year.