Orbital Sciences rocket, station cargo ship, lost in spectacular launch mishap

October 30, 2014 6:20 AM

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An Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket making only its fifth flight exploded seconds after launch from the Virginia coast Tuesday, erupting in a spectacular fireball and destroying an uncrewed Cygnus cargo ship in a disheartening failure for NASA’s commercial space station resupply program.

The mishap occurred about 15 seconds after liftoff from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility as the 139-foot-tall two-stage rocket climbed away on the power of its two Russian-built first-stage engines.

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