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A commercial rocket flying cargo to the International Space Station exploded just 14 seconds after lift-off last night, creating a spectacular fireball and shockwave as the fully fuelled rocket crashed back down onto its launch pad.

No one was hurt when the uncrewed spacecraft was destroyed, but the loss will dent attempts by the spacecraft's builder, Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, to build confidence in its ability to supply ISS cargo services to NASA.

After a one-day launch delay owing to an unauthorised boat breaching the no-go area around the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia, Orbital's Antares rocket was launched at 18.22 EDT (22.22 GMT) on 28 October. It seemed to take off normally but its progress quickly slowed as it lost thrust and the rocket came to a halt after 14 seconds, just after clearing the launch tower. It became engulfed in flames and exploded as it plummeted back down to earth.

"Accident?" To read more and view the video, click here.