Orbital Sciences Rocket Explodes During Launch

An Orbital Science Antares rocket, carrying supplies to the International Space Station, exploded six seconds after departing Wallops Island, Va., Tuesday night. “Tonight’s events really show the difficulty that it takes for us to do this task of delivering cargo to the space station,” NASA Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier told CNN Tuesday. Though the cause of the crash is not yet known, the AJ26 engine that powers the rocket has experienced some bumps in the past, President and CEO of Orbital Sciences Corporation David Thompson told reporters Wednesday afternoon. After a June launch was delayed due to failed engine testing, the company began looking for alternatives to the refurbished version of the Soviet-made NK-33 engine, he said. NASA officials confirmed that the vehicle was unmanned and there were no injuries as a result of the crash, reported the Washington Post.