The rocket carrying an experimental army strike weapon exploded seconds after take off from the Kodiak Launch Complex at about 12:25 this (Monday) morning. Witnesses report the rocket lifted off, but soon nosed down and either self-destructed or hit the ground and exploded.
Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann explains that operators were forced to press the self-destruct button.
“Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after lift-off to ensure public safety. There were no injuries to any personnel," Schumann said. "Program officials are conducting an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the flight anomaly.”
Scott Wight, a Kodiak photographer, was watching the launch from Cape Greville in Chiniak, about a dozen miles from the launch site. He said even at that distance the explosion was quite loud and a scary sight to see.
Another photographer at Cape Greville said the launch looked out of control and that she wasn’t surprised to find out it was detonated from mission control. She said the resulting fire burned brightly for a short while.
At the nose of the rocket was the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which is a rocket-launched glider. According to the Army’s environmental impact statement, the small craft is designed to be lofted to near space before diving deeper into the atmosphere to glide to its target, the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific at speeds over 3,500 mph.
The Kodiak Launch Complex is about 25-miles from the city of Kodiak.
This is a developing story, and we’ll have more information as it becomes available.
KLC Rocket Explosion Update