Orbital Sciences Mission Explodes 6 Seconds Into Launch
No doubt you’ve seen the video below, showing the Orbital Sciences Corporation Cygnus cargo spacecraft expl0ding shortly after liftoff.
This is an unfortunate catastrophe for Orbital Sciences, but also for the many people (including a number of students) who had experiments and other instruments aboard. NASA, the FAA, and Orbital Sciences, in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board, are investigating the problem. As of right now, from the press conference held after the accident, there are NO definitive answers about why this happened. There are teams already studying the data, and will be on the site in the morning. In addition, NASA and OSC are asking people who find remains of this rocket to please NOT touch them, and to report them to the launch team.
Let me say one thing again: there are NO definitive answers. Yet.
There WILL be answers, and they will serve to make the next flight safer. There is already a great deal of speculation online by many armchair enthusiasts and too few experts about what happened. That, too, is normal, but hardly helpful. Especially since most (if not all) of the speculation is by people who aren’t onsite, or on the teams. Bear that in mind if you start hearing or seeing weird stuff about this launch. It’s likely not true.
The name of this article is from a quote by Gus Grissom about the dangers of space flight. It’s never been truer than today: accidents happen. They are studied. And, space agencies and companies learn from them and move on.
Give the investigation some time, and pay attention when Orbital Sciences and NASA give information about this mishap. They are best places to find out what happened and the press conferences will be a good first step in finding out how this happened. Not from loony-toon conspiracy theorists (and yes, they’re oozing out from under the rocks and bridges of insanity, coming up with all kinds of fantastical ranting).