February 6, 2016

October 2014 Antares Rocket Explosion

October 2014 Antares Rocket Explosion

Cygnus CRS Orb-3, also known as Orbital Sciences CRS Flight 3 or Orbital 3, was an attempted flight of Cygnus, an automated cargo spacecraft developed by United States-based company Orbital Sciences, on 28 October 2014. This flight, which would have been its fourth to the International Space Station and the fifth of an Antares launch vehicle, resulted in the Antares rocket exploding seconds after liftoff.

The Antares rocket carrying the Orb-3 Cygnus launched as scheduled from Launch Pad 0A on 28 October 2014. Fifteen seconds after liftoff a failure of propulsion occurred in the first stage and the vehicle began falling back to the launch pad; before reaching the ground it was destroyed by its flight termination system which was engaged by a command from the Wallops Range Control Center.

The resulting explosion was felt in Pocomoke City, Maryland, 20 miles (32 km) away. The fire at the site was quickly contained and allowed to burn itself out overnight. Initial review of telemetry data found no abnormalities in the pre-launch, the launch sequence, and the flight, until the time of the failure.

In a press release, NASA stated that there were no known issues prior to launch and that no personnel were injured or missing but that the entire payload was lost and there was significant damage to the launch pad. However, a survey on 29 October found no serious damage to the launch pad and site fuel tanks, although some repairs will be required.

Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, USA
October 28, 2014

Image Credit: Jay Diem
Explanation from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cygnus_CRS_Orb-3

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