NEW YORK, October 29. /TASS/. The crash of the Antares carrier rocket with the US cargo spacecraft Cygnus is not expected to negatively affect the crew of the International Space Station (ISS) in the short term, but will somehow hinder the scientific research, NASA spokesperson Jay Bolden told TASS.
During the first couple of weeks, the crew of the ISS, a $100 billion research laboratory owned and operated by 15 nations, will not have any difficulties. However, the crash will certainly affect the research that the crew planned to carry out using the equipment that was part of the cargo, he said.
Cygnus, equipped with an AJ-26 engine, a rebuilt version of Soviet NK-33, was to deliver to the International Space Station (ISS) more than 2 tons of payload, including food, equipment and materials for scientific experiments.
In particular, Cygnus was loaded with more than 1,600 pounds (725 kg) of science experiments, including an investigation to chemically analyze meteors as they burn up in the Earth's atmosphere.
The spacecraft also carried a prototype satellite owned by Redmond, Washington-based startup Planetary Resources Inc., which is developing technology to mine asteroids.
The unmanned Antares rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from the Wallops Island launch facility in Virginia at 22:22 GMT on Monday (01:23am Moscow time on Tuesday).
Manager of NASA's ISS Program Michael Suffredini said, “We keep enough on board to keep going for 4-6 months.” An investigation board has been formed to determine the cause of the mishap.