NASA Releases Stunning New Images Of 2014 Antares Rocket Disaster

The photos come on the heels of a new report that tries to pinpoint the cause of the explosion.
Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA has released a series of images from last year's disaster on Wallops Island in Virginia, where an unmanned Antares rocket exploded six seconds after liftoff.

No one was injured in the Oct. 28, 2014, incident.

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Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Orbital ATK's Antares rocket was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft loaded with more than 5,000 pounds of supplies, equipment and scientific experiments bound for the International Space Station.

Two explosions ripped through the rocket, with the second one having the force of 200 tons of TNT, an analysis published earlier this year said.

Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The photos were released on NASA's Flickr page just days after the space agency issued a report that said the explosion took place within the Antares' AJ-26 rocket engine, a refurbished engine that had been built decades before for the ultimately aborted Soviet lunar program.

Along with destroying the rocket and supplies, the explosion damaged the launchpad at Wallops. Repairs were completed last month at a cost of $15 million, Spaceflight Now reports. The bill was split between NASA, Orbital ATK and the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority.

Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The report, available here, says the explosion could have been the result of one or a combination of three possible technical causes.

Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The next Antares rocket is scheduled to launch from Wallops in May 2016, according to Spaceflight Now.

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