An Alliant Tech Systems suborbital rocket carrying two NASA hypersonic experiments was destroyed shortly after liftoff from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Friday. No injuries or property damage were immediately reported. The launch marked the first flight of ATK's ALV-X1 suborbital rocket. On-board the 53-foot tall rocket were
Most debris from the rocket is thought to have fallen in the Atlantic Ocean. However, there are conflicting reports of debris being sighted on land. This debris could be hazardous. People who think they may have encountered rocket debris are advised not to touch it and to report it to the 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. NASA is assembling a multidiscipline team, along with the rocket's maker Alliant Tech Systems, or ATK, of Salt Lake City, to begin the investigation promptly.
The exact launch time was 5:10 a.m. EDT. The anomaly that caused the failure occurred approximately 27 seconds into flight and is not known.
During a media telecon held Friday morning, NASA confirmed the rocket had been destroyed by range safety after it veered south of its target azimuth. Video of the explosion will air on NASA TV later today.