VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-R) is expressing disappointment, along with NASA’s senior leadership and Orbital Sciences Corp., over the failed Antares launch.
“We wanted to see it go straight up into the heavens, and when it exploded as it did, just seconds after liftoff. We grieved with the crew there, the ground-based crew, but also were relieved all the personnel was safe,” he told WAVY.com.
The congressman represents the Eastern Shore, which is where the rocket launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
Rigell said his dad, Ike Rigell, now 91-years-old, was involved in the precursor to NASA, an Army initiative called the Redstone Arsenal Project. His father then went on to have a lengthy career as a NASA engineer.
Congressman Rigell recalled watching space missions and powerful Saturn rockets, as a child: “Growing up in his home, some of my earliest memories were of watching the Apollo Rocket launches, and they’d literally shake the earth,” he said.
After this disaster Tuesday night, Congressman Rigell told us, “the key now, of course, is to have the right response to it, to press forward, find out what went wrong, and I’m confident they will.”
He also hopes this will not “discourage us from the importance of venturing into space.”
Congressman Rigell is seeking re-election and is facing Democratic challenger Suzanne Patrick at the polls on Election Day next week.