Finding out the reasons that led to the NASA rocket explosion 6 seconds after it was launched is expected to take a considerable amount of time to get to the root of the problem. The cargo that the rocket was carrying to a team of astronauts was all destroyed in the explosion. However, if the NASA cannot send supplies to them, others can: a Russian cargo was sent out hours after the explosion. Also, even if no other vehicle were to reach the astronauts, they would still have enough food, water, fuel and other resources until next April.
An unmanned NASA rocket that was to carry cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) crew exploded seconds after its launching on the 28th of October. The crash happened unexpectedly to the astonishment of the scientists monitoring the launching. The explosion did not cause any human casualty but the 2273 kg supplies and equipment onboard were destroyed. The reason that led to the explosion is still unknown. An investigation team has been looking into the matter ever since Tuesday.
The inspections that have been done until now have shown that no large-scale damage has been done.
“The overall findings indicate the major elements of the launch complex infrastructure, such as the pad and fuel tanks, avoided serious damage, although some repairs will be necessary,” said Orbital Sciences.
According to the experts, the investigation will last over several days before they can find the reason behind the failure of the mission. Digging deeper into the cause of the explosion will take even longer accordingly.
Aerojet spokesman Glenn Mahone said: “Orbital has formed an anomaly investigation board, and that board will work closely with all the appropriate government agencies and their suppliers to determine the cause of yesterday’s mishap. Obviously, we will be part of the investigation as we go forward. It’s too early to know the details of what happened, but we are confident that, as a result of the investigation, Orbital and the investigation board will get to the bottom of what caused the anomaly.”
Remediating the situation is expected to span over a few months. Fortunately, in spite of the time delays, this will not adversely affect the crew members of the ISS – the rocket and supplies might have been lost, but the astronauts still have enough provision to make it till next March or April.
“It’s a great loss when you lose a vehicle like that … but we press on,” NASA space station flight engineer Barry Wilmore said during an in-flight interview on Wednesday. “We’ve got supplies to last us four to six months.”
The Roskosmos space agency of Russia extended its help, saying that it is ready to send extra US cargo to the space station if NASA needed so. An unmanned Russian Progress supply vehicle was sent some hours after the explosion, launched from Kazakhstan, loaded with food, fuel and supplies, and it reached the station on Wednesday.