#AceWorldNews – ATLANTIC – October 29 – The company behind the dramatic launch explosion of a space station supply mission promises to find the cause of the failure and is warning residents to avoid any potentially hazardous wreckage.
‘Russian deliver space station cargo after US flop ‘
Meanwhile, early Wednesday, the Russian Space Agency launched its own cargo vessel from Kazakhstan and the spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station six hours later with 3 tons of food. The smooth flight was in stark contrast to the Orbital Sciences’ failed launch, and had been planned well in advance of the accident.
The Orbital Sciences rocket was carrying a Cygnus capsule loaded with 2½ tons of space station experiments and equipment for NASA. No one was injured when the rocket exploded moments after liftoff, shooting flaming debris down onto the launch area and into the ocean.
Ground crews were ready to access the fire-stricken area of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at daybreak Wednesday to search for accident debris.
The company’s Cygnus cargo ship was carrying 5,000 pounds of experiments and equipment for NASA, as well as prepackaged meals and, in a generous touch, freeze-dried Maryland crabcakes for a Baltimore-born astronaut who’s been in orbit for five months.
All of the lost materials will be replaced and flown to the 260-mile-high space station, NASA’s station program manager Mike Suffredini said. The six-person space station crew has enough supplies to last well into spring.
The accident is sure to draw scrutiny to the space agency’s growing reliance on private U.S. companies in the post-shuttle era. NASA is paying billions of dollars to Virginia-based Orbital Sciences and the California-based SpaceX company to make station deliveries, and it’s counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start flying U.S. astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as 2017.
It was the fourth Cygnus bound for the orbiting lab; the first flew just over a year ago. SpaceX is scheduled to launch another Dragon supply ship from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in December.