Published On: Wed, Oct 29th, 2014

Unmanned NASA rocket explosion sets back research on brain study, pea growth in space

An unmanned NASA-contracted rocket exploded in midair early Tuesday evening, producing huge flames and loud booms along the eastern Virginia coast but no injuries or deaths.

unmanned rocket explosion NASAOrbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft had launched from the Wallops Flight Facility along the Atlantic Ocean, carrying roughly 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

The rocket contracted by NASA burst into flames seconds after liftoff and the explosion also swallowed several experiments, many of them from schools.

“Tonight’s events really show the difficulty that it takes for us to do this task of delivering cargo to the space station,” NASA Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier  said.

The rocket was carrying various things, including spacewalk tools for the space station, flight equipment, food, books and computer resources for the crew.

Its total cargo was 4,883 pounds (2215 kilograms).

“It’s not as tragic as losing a life associated with it and so, we’re very happy to report that there were no injuries,” said Frank Culbertson, an executive vice president at Orbital Sciences Corp. ” That hardware, however, it’s very important and very high value to the company and to our customers.”

The experiments varied widely, from student research to complicated medical studies.

Some of the research highlights for the mission included:

— Experiments on pea shoot growth in space conducted by the Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart in Houston. Pea shoots have high vitamin and mineral content, making them a good food choice for long-duration space missions.

— Drain brain health study, which examines blood flow to help advance treatment for neurological problems faced by space station crew members.

— The meteor study, which analyzes video and images of the atmosphere to provide insight on meteoroid dust and development of planets.

–Re-entry breakup recorder, which uses sensors to record data during reentry. That data are used to determine reentry hazards.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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