HOUSTON (AP) — Some Texas students’ experiments were destroyed when an unmanned rocket headed to the International Space Station exploded after liftoff in Virginia.
Investigators are trying to determine what caused the explosion on Tuesday that destroyed Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and a cargo module. The rocket was carrying more than 2 tons of experiments and equipment to the space station. The astronauts have enough supplies to last until spring, according to NASA.
Students from Cristo Rey Jesuit College Preparatory School in Houston had two experiments on board. One was supposed to study the effects of microgravity on slime mold. The other experiment involved lipids.
“The payload was supposed to be returning in early December and we were going to analyze the data and see if we could draw any conclusions,” science teacher Greg Adragna told the Houston Chronicle.
The rocket also carried a small satellite created by about 30 University of Texas engineering students in association with NASA.
Glenn Lightsey, a UT engineering professor, said the accident was unfortunate but was also part of the aerospace industry.
“The nature of building space vehicles is that it is not a 100 percent reliable process,” Lightsey told the Austin American-Statesman. “Getting into space is really the hardest part.”
Students at Hobby Middle School in San Antonio provided an experiment involving crystals.
“And if you fail one time, just try it again and see what happens,” Anthony Holmes, 13, told the San Antonio Express-News. “And rocket explosions look cool.”
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