GPS Launches Explodes

cityfirst (
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 16:20:46 -0600

What a waste. We could have used this one !

Unmanned Satellite Explodes 

Friday, January 17, 1997 11:49 am EST 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- An unmanned rocket carrying an advanced
navigation satellite for the Air Force blew up today 13 seconds after
liftoff. There were no injuries reported to spectators or ground crew. 
Sparks showered into the air, and a boom could be heard several miles
from the launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Station. The Delta rocket had
lifted off at 11:28 a.m. following a smooth countdown. 

McDonnell Douglas Corp. makes the Delta rockets, considered among the
most reliable. It's been more than a decade since the last time a Delta
blew up. 

The new-generation, $40 million Global Positioning System satellite was
intended to pinpoint time to within a millionth of a second, speed to a
fraction of a mile per hour and location to  within a few feet.  Built
by Lockheed Martin Corp., the satellite had an expected lifetime of 10
years, three years longer than the older GPS spacecraft. It was the 39th
GPS satellite to be launched. 

The nine astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the linked space shuttle
Atlantis and Russian space station Mir were too far away to see the

It was the second launch attempt; high wind scuttled Thursday's try. 

                                   ) Copyright 1997 The Associated Press