NASA Posts New Photos Of Last Year’s Orbital Sciences Rocket Explosion To Flickr

They're terrifying, and beautiful

Just seconds after liftoff on October 28, 2014, an Orbital Sciences rocket exploded, destroying 5,000 pounds of space station supplies. No one was onboard, thankfully, but the blast took out part of the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

NASA and Orbital Sciences only recently finished assessing what went wrong. NASA released a report this past October, which is likely why photos from the disaster were recently added to NASA's Flickr page.

The two independent assessments point to an explosion in one of the engines' liquid oxygen turbopump, but what caused the explosion remains unclear. NASA chalks it up to either poor engine design, debris in the engine, or a manufacturing defect. Orbital says a manufacturing defect is the most likely explanation.

Orbital has since switched engines from the AJ-26 engine to the Russian-made RD-181, and aims to resume ISS resupply launches with Antares next year.

Orbital Science launch failure, 28 October 2014
NASA
Orbital Science launch failure, 28 October 2014
NASA
Orbital Science launch failure, 28 October 2014
NASA
Orbital Science launch failure, 28 October 2014
NASA
Orbital Science launch failure, 28 October 2014
NASA
Orbital Science launch failure, 28 October 2014
NASA
The aftermath at Wallops Flight Facility
NASA