Remember last year’s Orbital Antares rocket exploding? Yesterday, NASA released a batch of stunning new photos of the failed rocket launch.
Needless to say, the launch pad needed a new coat of paint and then some. Repairs were completed in September and flights are set for next spring or early summer.
Here’s a video of the failed launch.
The Orbital Antares rocket was carrying more than 5,000 pounds of supplies to the International Space Station when the launch went awry. You can see the rocket appear to lose acceleration. An official quickly made the call to send a self-destruct command to the vehicle.
Moments later, the rocket crashed back down onto the launch pad.
The quick decision to self-destruct kept all the damage localized to the launch pad. No one was injured.
What happened? The exact cause of the explosion remains a mystery. But, Orbital is opting for new engines on their rockets now. They replace Soviet-made motors dating back to the space race era.
As for Orbital ATK? NASA is keeping their contract with them. Last year’s failure came on the third of eight planned launches by Orbital. No word on when Orbital plans to launch the fourth supply mission to the International Space Station.
Space is hard. And when things go south, they tend to explode in spectacular fashion.