News & Politics

NASA Rocket Explodes Seconds After Launch in Virginia

The rocket was carrying supplies to the International Space Station. No one was injured in the explosion.

Screenshot via NASA.

An unmanned NASA rocket loaded with supplies bound for the International Space Station exploded six seconds after its launch Tuesday evening from the space agency’s facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.

The agency says all personnel at the facility are unharmed and accounted for. Announcers on NASA’s live feed say there is a large amount of debris scattered across the launch area, but that no one was near the pad when the rocket, an Antares craft built by Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corporation, exploded.

NBC4 reports tremors from the explosion carried across the water to Ocean City, Maryland, about 45 miles from Wallops Island. The launch was originally scheduled for Monday, but was delayed after a sailboat navigated too closely to the NASA facility. The rocket’s flight path was expected to be visible from Washington and other parts of the East Coast.

UPDATE, 10/29/14: In a statement Tuesday night, NASA says it is still determining what caused the Antares rocket’s destruction, but that it will work past the incident. “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 space agency says.

The crew on the International Space Station, which was expecting a payload of supplies from the Antares craft, is in no danger of running out of food or other supplies, NASA says.

Agency officials also say that anyone who finds debris should not touch it and call 757-824-1295.

Watch video of the failed launch:

Find Benjamin Freed on Twitter at @brfreed.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.