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NASA says it is disappointed at launch explosion - but it was just a 'mishap'

The rocket was bringing supplies to the International Space Station.

Source: Brad Panovich/YouTube

Updated, 29 October, 7.16am

JUST SIX SECONDS after launch the NASA Antares rocket exploded in Virginia last night.

The rocket was unmanned and bringing supplies to the International Space Station. It was the third of such missions by Orbital Sciences.

Nobody was injured in the blast.

In a statement issued overnight, NASA described the incident as a “mishap”.

“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,” said William Gerstenmaier, one of the men in charge of human exploration and operations.

He added that the ISS crew is “in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies”.

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.

The International Space Station tweeted this image of the wreckage on site shortly after the blast.

First published, 28 October, additional reporting by Sinéad O’Carroll

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