September 21, 2019

Video clips show rocket anomaly high above Hawaii


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Videos of Tuesday’s sunset liftoff of the U.S. Air Force’s Super Strypi launcher show the low-cost fin-guided rocket streaking into the skies over Hawaii and arcing downrange toward the south with 13 satellites before apparently losing control and breaking up.

The rotating motion seen in a view from the rocket’s on-board camera is normal — the rail-launched rocket is designed to spin up for stabilization during its ascent into space — but oscillations in the rocket’s attitude appear in the final moments before officials cut the video and switched to an animation.

Liftoff occurred from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, at 0345 GMT Wednesday (10:45 p.m. EST; 5:45 p.m. HST) on its inaugural demonstration flight.

A spectator video appears to show an in-flight breakup of the rocket about a minute after blastoff.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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