Jawdropping pictures of the Antares explosion

Concurrent with the conclusion of the accident investigation, NASA has released high quality pictures of the Antares launch failure last year.  It’s beautiful in its own awful way.

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Full ORB-3 launch attempt photo set here, from assembly to rollout to launch to the damaged launch pad.  There are more accident images in this set than I’ve posted here; I just put a few of the most spectacular ones in this post.

Orbital ATK is hard at work moving towards a return-to-flight for Antares, with a redesigned first stage that uses the RD-181 from Energomash, smaller cousin to the RD-180 used on Atlas V.  In the meantime, an actual Atlas V is being readied to carry the next Cygnus vehicle to the ISS, currently scheduled for December 3.  The launchpad at Wallops Island has been cleaned up and restored, and will be ready when the vehicle is ready.

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