TS News - Delta Launch Fails In Explosion

TELE-satellit News, 20 January 1997

Delta Launch Fails In Explosion
  CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida, USA, 97/01/20 (TS) -- America's most reliable
satellite launcher, the Delta rocket, ended its more than 100 successfull
launch streak in a spectacular fashion on Firday. A Delta 2 carrying the
first in a new generation of Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites
blew into pieces just 13 seconds after launch causing flaming debris and
rocket fuel to rain down on the Cape Canaveral Air Station.

  The rocket was worth around $55 million and the satellite around $40
million but the biggest loss is the blow to the Delta program. Success
rates far surpassed all other launchers and, with the exception of Russia's
Proton rocket, made it the most reliable launcher in the world.

  No injuries were reported following the explosion, one of the most
spectacular ever witnessed after a rocket failure. The rocket was at 1,589
feet when an explosion from the base of the launcher caused the destruction
of the vehicle and craft. A NASA announcer immediately reacted calling it
an "anomaly."

  At the launch site officials, spectators and journalists ran for cover
with the launch site announcer warning, "Take cover immediately from
falling debris."

  The Delta launch schedule is currently on hold pending an investigation
into the accident.

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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