Antares rocket exploded during takeoff. American rocket private company Orbital Sciences Corporation for NASA carrying Cygnus capsule supply for the International Space Station.
"The explosion occurred shortly after launch" on the Wallops spaceport on the coast of Virginia, reports a television commentator NASA. Cygnus was to deliver 2.2 tons of supplies and equipment for scientific experiments.
The Russian space agency said it was ready to supply emergency the International Space Station if he so requests.
Astronauts are currently aboard the International Space Station have enough food to take four to six months, NASA reassured. The six astronauts attended the launch missed by images broadcast by NASA and "they were disappointed, but they know they have plenty of resources on board," said the program director of the International Space Station, Mike Suffredini.
The causes of the accident are as yet unknown. There was no one on board.
For the CEO of Orbital Sciences, Frank Culbertson, "it was too early to know all the details" of the accident. He announced that an investigation would be conducted "to determine the causes of this failure and the steps to take to prevent it from happening again," said he added.
The damage appears to be limited to the ground at the shooting, according to NASA officials. Nothing but the rocket ship and loading are estimated at $ 200 million, said Frank Culbertson.
Earlier in a brief statement on its website, NASA indicated "a malfunction occurred shortly after takeoff."
For its part, Orbital had reported in a message on Twitter, as "an anomaly in the launcher" without giving further details.
Orbital says it was the first night launch for the Antares rocket and third supply mission to the eight planned under a contract of $ 1.9 billion with NASA.
Since shelved its space shuttles, the US space agency (NASA) relies on private companies like Orbital or SpaceX to resupply the ISS or to send astronauts at a lower cost. This is the first accident since NASA has given its resupply missions to the International Space Station to private operators.