News Release

Exploding Rocket: Underlines “Folly of Using Nuclear Power in Space”


AP is reporting: “The company behind the dramatic launch explosion of a space station supply mission promises to find the cause of the failure and is warning residents to avoid any potentially hazardous wreckage.

“Orbital Sciences Corp.’s unmanned Antares rocket blew up just moments after liftoff Tuesday evening from the Virginia coast.”

KARL GROSSMAN, kgrossman at
A veteran investigative reporter, Grossman has been a recipient of the George Polk Award and other honors for his journalism. He is a professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury.

He said today: “This event underlines again the folly of using nuclear power in space — something the United States and Russia are again actively planning. An explosion on launch is not unusual — indeed, one out of 100 rockets fail on launch. But, consider if radioactive materials were on board — as will be the situation for the proposed U.S. and Russian nuclear space shots (this rocket was equipped with a Russian engine).” Grossman is author of The Wrong Stuff: The Space Program’s Nuclear Threat to Our Planet and for the last nearly 30 years, has been challenging the use of nuclear power in space. He he broke the story in The Nation magazine about how the next mission of the ill-fated Challenger shuttle involved it lofting a space probe with a plutonium-powered electrical generating system on board. Among Grossman’s articles is, from CounterPunch: “Obama and the Nuclear Rocket.” His documentaries include “Nukes in Space: The Nuclearization and Weaponization of the Heavens.”

Grossman added: “Meanwhile, enormous advances have been made in the use of safe solar power to generate electricity on spacecraft. Even way out in space, the European Space Agency’s solar-powered Rosetta spacecraft recently successfully rendezvoused with a comet and NASA’s Juno’s solar-powered space probe is now on its way to Jupiter.”