An unmanned cargo rocket headed for the International Space Station exploded seconds after liftoff on Tuesday night. No one was injured, but the blast left hazardous fiery debris strewn around the launch site at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in eastern Virginia. It’s unclear what caused the accident, but it is likely to spark criticism of NASA’s new reliance on private companies. This is the fourth flight by the company Orbital Sciences and the first major incident in NASA’s commercial spaceflight effort, which was set to start flying U.S. astronauts as early as 2017.
The Antares rocket, the first to launch with a more powerful Russian-built engine, was carrying 5,055 pounds of supplies. The astronauts on the space station have enough provisions for now, and supply rockets from Russia and the U.S. company SpaceX are scheduled to launch in the coming weeks.
Here’s NASA’s video of the explosion:
If the lack of cursing seems weird, journalists more than make up for it in this video shot at the press site: