NASA’s Antares ORB-3 Rocket Exploded Seconds After Take-Off

antares orb3 explosion

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — Antares ORB-3 rocket on it’s way to the International Space Station exploded six seconds after launch from Wallops Island Tuesday night.

NASA reports the Antares rocket “suffered a catastrophic anomaly” just after liftoff at 6:22 p.m. There is significant property and vehicle damage at Wallops Flight Facility, but no people have been injured.

The explosion occured six seconds after liftoff, NASA officials said during a live stream after the explosion. The cargo vehicle attacked to the rocket was carrying 5,000 pounds of supplies, including about 1,300 pounds of food. The cargo also included an array of science experiments, including some designed by high school students.

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ANTARES ORB-3 LAUNCH VIEWING MAP

ORB-3 Launch Viewing Map

ORB-3 Launch Viewing Map

Can you see the Antares launch from your location? The Antares launch scheduled Oct. 27 will be visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic, weather permitting. Lift-off of the Antares rocket is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. (EDT), with rendezvous and berthing with the ISS early in the morning on November 2. Taking advantage of Cygnus’ operational capabilities, Orbital is launching the Orb-3 mission to orbit several days earlier than necessary to preserve schedule flexibility and time its arrival at the station to conform to other visiting vehicle operations.

AIMM Heads to Wallops Flight Facility for Orbital Resupply Mission to Space Station

Orbital Sciences Corp. will launch its next mission to resupply the International Space Station Monday, Oct. 27, and AIMM will assist NASA Television in the broadcast live coverage of the event, including pre- and post-launch briefings and arrival at the station.

orbital_crs-3_0

Orbital Science’s Cygnus cargo carrier is transported Oct. 16, 2014 from the NASA fueling facility on Wallops Island, Virginia to the Horizontal Integration Facility where it will be mated to the Antares rocket for the Orbital CRS-3 cargo mission to the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA/Jamie Lee Adkins

Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled to launch at 6:45 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Launch Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Launch coverage begins at 5:45 p.m.

A prelaunch status briefing will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, followed at 2 p.m. by a briefing to preview the mission’s science cargo. A post-launch briefing will be held approximately 90 minutes after liftoff.
Media who wish to ask questions remotely during the briefing must respond to Rachel Kraft at rachel.h.kraft@nasa.gov no later than 30 minutes before the start of each briefing. The public may submit questions via Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA.

Cygnus will transport almost 5,000 pounds of supplies, including science experiments, crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware. It will arrive at the station Sunday, Nov. 2. Expedition 41 crew members Reid Wiseman and Barry Wilmore of NASA will be ready in the station’s cupola to capture the resupply craft with the station’s robotic arm and install it on the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony module.

NASA TV coverage of capture and installation will begin at 3:30 a.m. Nov. 2, followed by grapple at 4:58 a.m. Coverage of the installation of Cygnus onto the International Space Station will begin at 7 a.m. The capsule is scheduled to depart the station Wednesday, Dec. 3, and burn up in Earth’s atmosphere during reentry.

Continuing the tradition of naming its spacecraft after astronauts who have made significant contributions to spaceflight, Orbital dubbed this Cygnus resupply ship the SS Deke Slayton. The name is a tribute to original Mercury 7 astronaut Donald “Deke” K. Slayton, who flew on the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission in 1975 and championed commercial space endeavors after retiring from NASA in 1982. Slayton passed away in 1993.
This mission is the third of eight Orbital flights NASA contracted with the company to resupply the space station, and the fourth trip by a Cygnus spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory.
For a full media schedule and more information about the Orbital CRS-3 mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/orbital
For video b-roll and media resources on the International Space Station, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/stationnews
For more information about the International Space Station, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/station

Antares Rocket Launch Delayed Due to Hurricane Gonzalo

A team from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia has secured the NASA temporary tracking facilities on Cooper’s Island in Bermuda in preparation for the expected arrival of Hurricane Gonzalo.

Because of the hurricane preparations, uncertainty of the storm and the time required to re-establish the temporary site once the storm passes, the NASA tracking facility will not be able to support the launch of an Antares rocket Oct. 24. The facility is a required asset for supporting ISS cargo resupply mission from Wallops.

Orbital Science Corp's Antares Rocket on pad 0A at Wallops Island Virginia. Image Credit: NASA/P. Black

Orbital Science Corp’s Antares Rocket on pad 0A at Wallops Island Virginia.
Image Credit: NASA/P. Black

NASA Lunar Mission Wins 2014 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission has received the Popular Mechanics 2014 Breakthrough Award for innovation in science and technology. The 10th annual Breakthrough Awards recognize innovators, engineers and scientists responsible for changing our world.

LADEE - Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Winner
The award acknowledges LADEE’s modular flexible construction and laser data transfer capability, which can send and receive data more than six times faster than the quickest space-based radio signals.
“We’re proud of the LADEE mission’s accomplishments and this recognition,” said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, which designed, developed, built, integrated, tested and controlled the spacecraft. “LADEE may have been the first Ames-built spacecraft, but after the Kepler mission’s win in 2009 and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission’s win in 2010, it’s the third Ames mission to be honored with this award.”
LADEE launched in September 2013, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia. The car-sized lunar orbiter gathered detailed information on the structure and composition of our moon’s thin atmosphere and data to determine whether dust is being lofted into the lunar sky. A thorough understanding of these characteristics of our nearest celestial neighbor will help researchers understand other bodies in the solar system, such as large asteroids, Mercury, and the moons of outer planets.
The first Ames-built spacecraft enjoyed many other firsts throughout its mission. The occasion of its launch was the first flight of a converted U.S. Air Force Minotaur V rocket, an excess ballistic missile converted into a space launch vehicle and operated by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia. It also was the first launch beyond Earth orbit from the agency’s Virginia launch facility.
Hosted aboard LADEE for its ride to lunar orbit was the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) terminal. From a distance of almost a quarter-of-a-million miles, LLCD demonstrated record-breaking upload and download speeds. The cooperative mission with a team from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory revealed the possibility of expanding broadband capabilities in future space communications development.
LADEE was built using an Ames-developed Modular Common Spacecraft Bus architecture — a general purpose spacecraft design that allows NASA to develop, assemble and test multiple spacecraft modules at the same time. The LADEE bus structure was a lightweight carbon composite weighing 547.2 pounds unfueled and 844.4 pounds when fully fueled.
“This mission put the innovative common bus design to the test and proved the spacecraft could perform well beyond our most conservative estimates,” said Butler Hine, LADEE project manager at Ames. “This same common bus can be used on future missions to explore other destinations, including voyages to orbit and land on the moon, low-Earth orbit, near-Earth objects and objects in deep space.”
The successful mission was concluded April 18 when ground controllers at Ames confirmed the spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned. LADEE was designed for a relatively short mission, as the science goals only required 100 days of data collection.
“From beginning to end, LADEE was a testament of unparalleled teamwork and unique innovation,” said Joan Salute, LADEE program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington.” The mission established a new technology paradigm, opening a new chapter for spacecraft design and construction.”
NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington funded the LADEE mission. Ames managed the overall mission. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, managed the science instruments, technology demonstration payload and science operations center, and provided overall mission support. Wallops was responsible for launch vehicle integration, launch services and operations. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, managed LADEE within the Lunar Quest Program Office.

For more information about the LADEE mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/ladee