Launch Site of Antares Rocket Suffered Less Damage, says Orbital Sciences Corp

Launch Site of Antares Rocket Suffered Less Damage, says Orbital Sciences Corp

Orbital Sciences Corp., the makers of Antares rocket that exploded just after its launch, are looking for clues after the catastrophic event. Three independent insiders reported in Forbes that one of the two rockets' Soviet engines could be responsible for the explosion.

Orbital Sciences Corp. on Thursday said that some of the payloads from the commercial Cygnus capsule might be recoverable. Orbital is deeply examining the entire incident so that they could find the drawbacks.

The explosion occurred six seconds after launch of Antares rocket. The rocket was launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility under the terms of Orbital's $1.9 billion contract with the space agency to resupply the International Space Station.

Antares was to carry the robotic Cygnus cargo capsule to the space station with 5,000 pounds (2,200 kilograms) of supplies, experiments and equipments.

Orbital in its Thursday's statement said that a preliminary review of the flight telemetry showed that no problems cropped up before the launch. However, something went wrong with the rocket's first stage, which was nearly 15 seconds after ignition.

The vehicle lost its propulsive capability and fell back on the ground. The explosion had much impact on the nearby area, but had a less impact on the launch pad.

It was found that a range safety official at Wallops activated the rocket's self-destruct system just before Antares hit the ground.

Orbital stated that a significant amount of debris was present on the accident site, which could serve as evidence, and could help the investigators to determine the cause of the failure.

The safety team has reported that launch site had suffered very less damage, but some damage was done to the piping between the launch mount and Wallops' storage vessels.

"Some of the Cygnus cargo has also been found and will be retrieved as soon as we have clearance to do so to see if any survived intact", Orbital said.

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