WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (WAVY) – The liftoff explosion Tuesday night has received mild criticism from state officials who see the loud booms and huge flames as merely a hiccup in NASA’s renewed commercial spaceflight interest.
Orbital Sciences Corp. launched the failed rocket from Wallops Island. The company said it hopes to know soon what caused the explosion of the unmanned supply rocket Oct. 28. It was bound for the International Space Station but exploded just seconds after liftoff. No injuries were reported.
In a statement Tuesday night, congressman Scott Rigell, who represents the Eastern Shore, said the lost rocket is a “sober reminder of the extraordinary technological challenges and risks that are inherent part of space exploration.” He called the failed mission a high disappointment. Rigell said the critical element in advancing NASA’s mission is how they respond.
NASA has said the crew on ISS is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies. An Orbital team will investigate the rocket flop.
Lieut. Gov. Ralph S. Northam released a response to the crash as well saying while it is a disappointing event, it is a temporary setback. “As NASA continues its investigation into this occurrence, there will be lessons learned and I am confident that future missions to the International Space Station will resume at NASA Wallops,” Northam said.
The Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority confirmed the rocket flop saying the launch vehicle experience a catastrophic failure.
VCSFA authorities said initial reports state the damage was contained on the south end of the island in a pre-determined hazard area. A full assessment of the situation is under way. The space flight authority will work with NASA and Orbital in the investigation.