NASA photos show the Antares rocket explosion in gritty detail

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When Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket exploded last year, your only real view at the time was a grainy video. However, you should now have a much better sense of what happened: NASA has posted large photos from the failed launch on Flickr. They not only show the incident in exceptional (almost uncomfortable) detail, but do a better job of illustrating the magnitude of what happened. This was a very large vehicle coming down very quickly, and the impact enveloped much of the launch site in fire and smoke.

20141028 Orb3 Mission

You hopefully won't see more photos like this for a long, long time. NASA recently wrapped up its investigation of the disaster, and it believes that a pump failure (due to either a design flaw or debris) sent Antares crashing down. Orbital Sciences will need to tackle the underlying causes before future iterations of the rocket can fly -- this kind of calamity shouldn't happen again.

[Image credit: NASA HQ Photo, Flickr]

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