Friday 9 December 2016

Failure to launch : NASA releases spectacular photos of rocket explosion

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 06/11/2015 | 18:05

The Antaras rocket exploded only seconds after launching
Credit: Flickr/NASA
The Antaras rocket exploded only seconds after launching Credit: Flickr/NASA

Last week an ATK Antaras rocket experienced a mechanical failure seconds after launching in Virginia.

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It then crashed back to Earth in a ball of flames and exploded on impact.

NASA has released a series of spectacular high resolution pictures that capture the incident.

An official report found that an explosion in a liquid oxygen turbo pump in one of the spacecraft's engines caused the failure and the subsequent fireball.

The rocket turned into a fireball minutes after launching
Credit:Flickr/NASA
The rocket turned into a fireball minutes after launching Credit:Flickr/NASA

A design flaw or a piece of debris are the likely causes of the explosion in the turbopump.

Thankfully, the rocket was unmanned but was transporting a cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The blazing rocket lit up the night sky
Credit:Flickr/NASA
The blazing rocket lit up the night sky Credit:Flickr/NASA

Since the accident NASA have grounded its fleet of Antares rockets while the investigation is completed.

More images can be viewed on NASA's Flickr page.

The graphic photos clearly show the moment of impact
Credit:Flickr/NASA
The graphic photos clearly show the moment of impact Credit:Flickr/NASA
NASA are conducting an investigation into the explosion
Credit:Flickr/NASA
NASA are conducting an investigation into the explosion Credit:Flickr/NASA
The incident took place at NASA's facility in Virginia
Credit:Flickr/NASA
The incident took place at NASA's facility in Virginia Credit:Flickr/NASA

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