NASA rocket, Antares, bound for the International Space Station has exploded during its launch.
NASA rocket, Antares, bound for the International Space Station has exploded during its launch.Reuters

An unmanned supply rocket bound for the International Space Station has exploded while being launched from the US state of Virginia.

The rocket, named Antares, combusted a few seconds after leaving the seaside launch pad at Wallops Flight Facility. It was a 14-storey rocket built by Orbital Sciences Corp. It is not yet clear what exactly caused the cargo ship's malfunction, the NASA said.

The flight was initially planned to be launched on Monday, but was delayed due to a sailboat in nearby waters, reports claim. The flight was supposed to be the third contracted mission with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The rocket was carrying nearly 5,000 pounds (2,200kgs) of supplies to six astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Watch the video of the explosion below:

"While NASA is disappointed that Orbital Sciences' third contracted resupply mission to the International Space Station was not successful today, we will continue to move forward toward the next attempt once we fully understand today's mishap. The crew of the International Space Station is in no danger of running out of food or other critical supplies," William Gerstenmaier, Associate Administrator of NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Directorate said in a statement.

"Orbital has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first two missions to the station earlier this year, and we know they can replicate that success. Launching rockets is an incredibly difficult undertaking, and we learn from each success and each setback. Today's launch attempt will not deter us from our work to expand our already successful capability to launch cargo from American shores to the International Space Station."

While NASA has confirmed that no one was injured, investigating team will try to establish the cause of the mishap on Wednesday morning with the examination of debris around the site, the BBC reported citing Frank Culbertson, Executive vice-president of Orbital Sciences.

"We will understand what happened, hopefully soon, and we'll get things back on track," Culbertson said.

"We've all seen this happen in our business before, and we've all seen the teams recover from this, and we will do the same."