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Launch Pad Video Cameras Capture Spectacular Antares Rocket Explosion

Newly released video shows just how much of an inferno erupted when Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket blew up just seconds after launch on Oct. 28.
Image: Antares explosion
Launch-pad video shows the Antares rocket exploding just after its Oct. 28 launch.AmericaSpace / Zero-G News via YouTube

It's been almost four weeks since Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket blew up just seconds after liftoff, but a new series of videos, recovered from cameras that were placed near the launch pad, shows just how much of an inferno it was. One compilation, posted to YouTube on Monday, combines video from and Zero-G News. AmericaSpace's Mike Killian said the video from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia had been impounded for the accident investigation and was only recently released to photographers.

The Oct. 28 launch was meant to send Orbital's robotic Cygnus spaceship and 5 tons of supplies to the International Space Station — but something went awry, and the Antares as well as the Cygnus and its cargo were destroyed. A couple of weeks ago, Orbital said a problem with a turbo pump on the Antares' refurbished Soviet-era rocket engine probably caused the failure. The investigation is continuing, but Orbital says it will no longer use those engines on its rockets.



— Alan Boyle