Last night Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket, which was set to deliver almost 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station, exploded shortly after launch at 6:22 p.m.
The rocket took off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Oct. 28, 2014, there were no reported injuries, NASA reported.
"While NASA is disappointed that Orbital Sciences' third contracted resupply 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. The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies," William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate said in a statement.
The rocket and capsule were worth about $200 million, but insurance may help cover some of that cost, the Wall Street Journal reported. Orbital's stocks have dropped by more than 15 percent in after-hours trading following the catastrophe.
"Orbital has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first two missions to the station earlier this year, and we know they can replicate that success. Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and we learn from each success and each setback. Today's 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," NASA stated.
The cargo aboard the ship was mainly scientific investigations, such as one that tests pea shoot growth in space, and another that would have looked at how blood flows in environments outside of Earth. Cygnus was also set to deliver 1,649 pounds of crew supplies such as food and flight procedure books; 1,404.3 pounds of vehicle hardware; 145.5 pounds of spacewalk equipment; and 81.6 pounds of computer resources.
The Antares rocket was 131.5 feet tall and boasted an impressive liquid-fueled first stage powered by two Aerojet Rocketdyne AJ26 engines and a solid motor ATK CASTOR 30XL to throw it into orbit. Its powered launch sequence would have last for about nine and a half minutes from liftoff.