Update: NASA said at a press conference this morning that launch officials were forced to destroy the rocket less than 30 seconds after it’s 5:10 a.m. launch. The rocket had veered off-course, although they couldn’t say how far, and they had to terminate the flight at about 12,000 feet.
A suborbital rocket carrying experiments conducted by NASA exploded early Friday morning 27 seconds after launch on Wallops Island in Virginia. The ATK (Alliant Tech Systems) rocket lifted off with no apparent problems at 5:10 a.m. NASA said no property damage or injuries have occurred, but there were conflicting reports as to whether debris had been sighted on land. NASA said it believes that most of the debris landed in the Atlantic Ocean.
NASA said the debris potentially could be hazardous. People who spot debris are being asked to call Wallops Emergency Operations Center at 757-824-1300.
“NASA is very disappointed in this failure but has directed its focus on protecting public safety and conducting a comprehensive investigation to identify the root cause,” the agency said in a statement. NASA is assembling a multidiscipline team, along with ATK of Salt Lake City, Utah to begin the investigation promptly.
The payload was a 5-in-1 experiment on hypersonic flight, air breathing engines and a rocket recovery system.