An Antares rocket coupled with a Cygnus resupply ship routed to the International Space Station (ISS) blew up seconds after it blasted off from a launch site in Virginia, the United States.
The NASA website was broadcasting the takeoff.
The rocket crashed approximately ten seconds after the launch while the first stage's engines were running. Judging by the video, an engine exploded.
The Antares first stage is made in Ukraine. It is powered by upgraded Soviet rocket engines NK-33.
A source in the Russian rocket and space industry told Interfax-AVN the explosion of the Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus spaceship would complicate the supplies to the U.S. segment of the International Space Station.
"Cygnus was supposed to bring about 2.5 tonnes of cargo for ISS American crewmembers - water, oxygen, food, equipment and fuel. The mishap thwarted those plans," the source said.
He noted that the ISS had certain reserves of food and water, and another U.S. cargo spaceship, a SpaceX Dragon, would go to the ISS in December. It will be propelled by a different launch vehicle and take off from a different launch site.
"It seems that the Antares rocket crash has seriously damaged the launch pad. It is unlikely that the consequences will be cleaned up rapidly. In my opinion, the next launch from there will be possible no earlier than in spring or summer of next year. So, it is possible that the Americans may ask Russia for a [Progress] resupply ship to deliver cargo to their segment," the source said.
He recalled that a similar request was made after the U.S. space shuttle wreck.
In turn, NASA said that the failure to deliver the cargo would have no effect on the ISS crew.
"The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies," says a statement posted by NASA.
"While NASA is disappointed that Orbital Sciences' third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station was not successful today, we will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today's mishap," the statement reads.
"Today's launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station," it says.
U.S. resupply ships have twice delivered cargo to the International Space Station.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.