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Explosion Rips Rocket Associated Press

A privately built rocket carrying a satellite to conduct scientific experiments in space exploded about 45 seconds after liftoff from a NASA launch site on Virginia’s coast Monday.

The five-story Conestoga rocket lifted off moments after National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said the launch had been put on hold with just more than two minutes left in the countdown.

The rocket soared upward, exploded and sent fiery fragments crashing into the Atlantic Ocean.

There were no known injuries and no immediate explanation for the blast at NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility.

EER Systems Corp. of Vienna, Va., built the rocket, which was carrying a 1-ton capsule named METEOR with 14 experiments aboard.