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Immediately after lifting off from the launchpad this evening, Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket exploded, falling back onto the launchpad.
We will have to wait for more details, but regardless this is bad news for Orbital Sciences. The bidding for the second round of cargo contracts to ISS is about to begin, and they will have competition from Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser. This accident will hurt them.
I’ve embedded footage of the launch failure below. The damage to the launchpad itself could be the worst aspect of this, as it will cost Orbital Sciences a great deal of money and time to get the pad rebuilt.