An unmanned cargo rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded seconds after liftoff from a commercial launch pad in Virginia Tuesday evening.
The Antares rocket, carrying 5,055 pounds of supplies and equipment, was built and launched by Orbital Sciences Corp. It burst into flames moments after launch at 6.22 pm and plunged to the ground in a huge ball of fire and smoke, Reuters reported.
The cause of the mishap was not immediately known, NASA spokesman Dan Huot was quoted as saying. There were no reports of any personnel in the vicinity of the explosion.
Orbital Sciences said in a statement that it has “confirmed that all personnel have been accounted for. We have no injuries in the operation today.”
NASA launch control said damage appeared to be limited to the launch facility and rocket. The Antares rocket has been launched successfully on four previous missions.
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