At least $200,000,000 up in smoke as an unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded in Virginia moments after liftoff Tuesday evening, with debris falling in flames also burning the launch site.

No one was injured following the catastrophic launch in NASA’s first commercial spaceflight effort. The entire island is now on lockdown, not even firefighters allowed.


Rocket Bound For International Space Station EXPLODES 5

NASA is paying billions of dollars to Orbital Sciences and the SpaceX company to make station deliveries, and it’s counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start flying U.S. astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as 2017. NASA spokesman Rob Navias said there was nothing on the lost flight that was urgently needed by the six people living on the space station. h/t yahoo!

The accident at Orbital Sciences Corp.’s launch complex at Wallops Island was sure to draw criticism over the space agency’s growing reliance on private U.S. companies in this post-shuttle effort.

It is believed that an older, Russian built engine may have failed.