There are still a lot of unanswered questions after Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket exploded Tuesday night just six seconds after launching from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility.
No one is saying who will pay for the repairs, cleanup and lost cargo.
NASA’s initial assessment identified a number of support buildings with broken windows and imploded doors after the explosion.
While preliminary reports show no hazardous materials or signs of water pollution found near the site, analysts estimate the loss after the explosion to be about $200 million.
But no one is saying who will pay for all the costs done to the facility that Commonwealth invested $26 million in to bring space business to the Eastern Shore.
On top of that, there’s no answer yet from Orbital as to why the explosion happened.
Some say the Russian-made rocket engines, built about 40 years ago, could be to blame for the costly mess.
“We've received questions about the engine. But we really have to keep it in the context of the full investigation. We all saw the launch. We saw the video. Clearly something happened in the lower part of the stage. Now that's where the engines are but that's where other things are too. So we can't get fixated on what we might think be the cause. You really have to do a thorough 100% job at investigating everything. So while there is some speculation out there, it's speculation at this point and we'll have to leave it at that,” said Orbital Sciences’ VP of Corporate Communication Barron Beneski.
As for the damage price tag, NASA did tell NewsChannel 3 that there is an agreement among NASA, Orbital Sciences and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. But no more details were given.