So far, Orbital Sciences has run two resupply missions to the International Space Station. Today, on what was supposed to be its third mission, its Antares Rocket exploded soon after it launched from Wallops Island, Va., in what NASA mission control called a "catastrophic anomaly."
Orbital Sciences has joined SpaceX as NASA's commercial space resuppliers. For this mission, roughly 5,000 pounds of cargo, including several scientific experiments and supplies were onboard the Cygnus cargo spacecraft.
In fact, among the payload was a CubeSat owned by Planetary Resources, one of the companies most seriously looking into asteroid mining. The satellite, called Arkyd3, was designed to test the company's communications equipment and was to be the first satellite launched by the company.