On October 28, the Aerospace company Orbital Sciences Corporation’s rocket took off from Virginia, USA. A few moments after lift off, the rocket exploded. The rocket was carrying food and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS, image) for the 6 astronauts living up there. There were no humans on board. The cause of the explosion is being investigated. The very next day, on October 29, a Russian spacecraft (image below) took supplies up to the ISS. It flew from Kazakhstan, and made it to the ISS in about 6 hours.
The ISS is a large research facility in space. Work started on it in 1998, and since November 2000, humans have been continuously living in it. It is approximately 400 km (250 miles) above Earth’s surface. It goes around Earth once every 90 minutes at a speed of about 28,000 km/h (17,500 miles/h). It can accommodate up to 6 people. The area where the astronauts live is about the size of a six-bedroom house, and has two bathrooms, a gymnasium and a 360-degree bay window. It is the largest satellite placed by humans that is orbiting Earth, and is big enough to be spotted from Earth.
The ISS was the site of the first wedding in outer space – a Russian astronaut got married while he was on the ISS and his bride was in Texas, USA. It was the venue for “the golf shot around the world” – an astronaut knocked a golf ball into space that went around the Earth. An American astronaut ran the Boston Marathon on the ISS tied to a treadmill. To learn more about the ISS, visit this site. You can watch a video here showing the explosion.
Image Credits: NASA for ISS and Russian spacecraft’s image