Last fall, on October 28, 2014, a NASA-contracted cargo resupply rocket known as “Antares” malfunctioned just after takeoff.
The malfunction forced safety officials to push a self-destruct button so that the rocket would explode before reaching heights that could put the lives of people near the launch site at risk.
More than 5,000 pounds of cargo was lost, millions of dollars worth of equipment was destroyed and NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility launchpad was severely damaged. More importantly, however, no one was injured — the rocket was unmanned and thanks to the safeguards in place the debris from the explosion was concentrated over a relatively small area.
After the failed launch, both NASA and Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corporation (the private company who supplied the rocket) put together teams to investigate the incident in hopes of identifying the cause of the accident.
Almost a year later, NASA finally released the results of their investigation to the public. Both NASA and Orbital’s investigations identified several potential root causes of the malfunction, but the reports offered differing conclusions.
At this time, neither party knows for sure what caused the accident. But in an effort to remain transparent, NASA released 39 high-definition photos of the explosion roughly a week after publishing the results of their investigation.
Check out some of NASA’s newly-released photos from the 2014 Antares Rocket Explosion…
You can see all the images on NASA’s flickr page here.