One experiment was meant to establish how astronauts adjust to weightlessness, the other one researched the properties of liquid in space.
Bart Desoete, QinetiQ project manager, watched the lift-off live and saw two years of hard work evaporate. “After a couple of seconds we noticed a huge flame. It was immediately clear that the rocket wouldn’t be launched successfully”, he says. “The team is crestfallen, we worked very hard to meet our deadline.”
The developed experiments would be executed in November by an Italian astronaut currently residing in the International Space Station (ISS). QinetiQ is going to work together with the European Space Agency (ESA) to see what they can do to salvage the project.