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Ukrainian aerospace company launches own investigation of Antares rocket explosion

October 29, 2014, 16:55 UTC+3 KIEV
Ukraine's Yuzhnoye design bureau developed the first stage of Antares
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KIEV, October 29. /TASS/. Experts of the Ukrainian design bureau Yuzhnoye, which took part in designing and manufacturing the Antares carrier rocket, have launched their own investigation of an explosion of the Antares rocket Tuesday seconds after liftoff from a launch pad in Virginia, Ukrinform news agency said quoting officials at the design bureau.

"We've begun the 'hotwash' already and are scrutinizing the possible causes of the explosion," the press service of the design bureau said. "The results will be reported later."

The two-stage Antares carrier rocket exploded in the air just seconds after liftoff from NASA's space center on Wallops Island in Virginia. It was carrying the Signus cargo craft with two tonnes of payload to the International Space Station, including 720 kilograms of equipment and materials for research experiments.

Infographics Antares rocket explodes Antares rocket explodes
Overnight to October 29, a US Antares carrier rocket exploded seconds after liftoff from the spaceport in Virginia. The rocket was to carry the cargo spacecraft to the orbit and deliver to the ISS more than 2 tons of payload. Infographics by TASS
One of the experiments was to do chemical analysis of the substances formed by meteorites burning in the Earth's atmosphere.

Yuzhnoye design bureau developed the Antares' first stage.

Antares, which was known as Taurus II in the initial phases of its development, was designed for orbiting small payloads of up to 5,000 kilograms. Its developers are the Orbital Science Corporation and Ukraine's Yuzhmash R & D Group.

Under the terms of the project, the Ukrainian side designed and manufactured the first stage of the rocket, while the US company took charge of the second stage and the ground launch site.

The program was partly financed by NASA and the entire cost of its implementation reached $ 1.9 billion. The first four launches of the Antareses were successful.

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