Virginia – An unmanned NASA rocket exploded early Tuesday evening along the eastern Virginia coast, causing a huge fireball to engulf the sky. Officials reported that there are no apparent deaths.
According to NASA, the Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft were set to launch at 6:22 p.m. ET from the Wallops Flight Facility along the Atlantic Ocean. It was set to carry some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.
“There was failure on launch,” NASA spokesman Jay Bolden said. “There was no indicated loss of life.
Bolden added, “There was significant property and vehicle damage. Mission control is trying to assess what went wrong.”
The launch had been scheduled for Monday, but that was scrubbed “because of a boat down range in the trajectory Antares would have flown had it lifted off,” according to NASA.
Just before Tuesday’s liftoff, the space agency reported “100% favorable” weather and “no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft being worked.”