Videos of NASA/ATK Rocket Failure

Article written: 23 Aug , 2008
Updated: 23 Aug , 2008
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NASA launch officials were forced to hit the “destruct” button on an experimental rocket that launched early Friday morning. The launch and subsequent explosion was captured on both amateur and NASA video, and shows the pieces falling back to Earth.

The countdown and initial takeoff Friday morning from a NASA launch facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, went smoothly, said former astronaut Kent Rominger, a vice president in ATK’s (Alliant Tech Systems) launch systems division. “Then (the rocket) appeared to veer south,” he said. To the naked eye the flight didn’t appear to be in trouble, he said, but it was moving off course.

The rocket was a little more than 2 miles high when it was destroyed. A team of officials from NASA and ATK are investigating the incident.

Here’s the amateur video:


The rocket’s planned flight wouldn’t have taken it into orbit and was set to last about 11 minutes, with the rocket coming down far out in the Atlantic Ocean, said Bryce Hallowell, an ATK spokesman.

The NASA experiments lost aboard the flight had cost about $17 million total, a NASA spokeswoman said.

The rocket flight itself wasn’t part of any government contract, but was an effort by ATK to develop capabilities for full-fledged launches of space vehicles. The project had been in development at ATK for two to three years with about 50 people working on it at some point in that time. A dollar figure for the rocket project wasn’t released.

Officials said they do not know why it veered off course. It was destroyed to avoid endangering the public.

“I would be surprised if we don’t know what happened fairly quickly,” said Rominger.

Here’s the NASA video:

Source: Twin Cities.com


5 Responses

  1. DuddleyFuddle says

    “I would be surprised if we don’t know what happened fairly quickly,” said Rominger.

    Watching the videos, I quickly didn’t figure what happened too.

  2. Maxwell says

    “…Is that a bad thing?”

    Aside from the Kboom its not apparent that it was off course or that anything was wrong up till then.

    Question I’m having is was this a NASA project or an ATK project… or a mix of both?
    More specifically, Who paid for the rocket?

  3. von Dawson's Express says

    Enjoy it, its a very rare event NASA losing a rocket. They will figure want went wrong and fix it. They will bounce back. Good Luck NASA!

  4. R2K says

    When good rockets go bad…

    Honestly they should let rockets go a bit farther before they detonate them… Just give them a chance to work the problems out.

  5. Maxwell says

    How long can you let them run before things get too far out of hand?
    A chunk of flaming debris the size of a small car can get some good mileage from being hurled uphill at near supersonic speeds.
    Then theres the risk of losing your ability to detonate the rocket entirely if the first problem causes other failures.

    Its a complicated decision that has to be made quickly. Annoying as it is to us viewers, it was probably the correct choice.

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