Investigators Find Cause of Rocket Failure at Kodiak

alaska_aerospace_corpArmy investigators have found the cause of a rocket failure last August that destroyed an experimental hypersonic test vehicle and caused significant damage to Alaska’s Kodiak Launch Complex.

“A review of prior launches has found this to be a one-of-a-kind incident that was unexpected,” spokesman John Cummings wrote in response to questions about what went wrong. He said “details of the investigation and findings are not releasable to the public,” though he declined to say why the report is being withheld and whether anyone was found to be at fault for the failure of the protective cover.

“The launch vehicle flight was terminated near the launch pad shortly after liftoff. The correct flight safety protocol and procedures were followed by all mission personnel. Before this launch configuration was used again, corrective action would have to be identified and implemented,” he said.

“The thermal protective cover is designed to regulate motor temperature prior to launch and remains in place until liftoff. Details of the failure review board findings are not releasable to the public,” he said.

The state estimated damages to the complex at $26 million to $29 million. State officials said they expect most of the cost to be covered by insurance.

Read the full story.


  • Aerospike

    I’m having a hard time to decide what is stranger:
    a) awards of Space Achievement and Excellence for a secret program where the public pretty much has no clue what they are doing
    b) a launch failure investigation that announces it has found the cause of the accident, but can’t tell the public about it.

    Strange times…

  • Kirk

    You left out the one tidbit they did provide: “… an external thermal protective cover designed to regulate motor temperature interfered with the launch vehicle steering

  • Aerospike

    Ah, I did not click the link and the “…interfered with the launch vehicle steering assembly.” bit was not included in the quote.

  • Kirk

    Yeah, by “you” I meant Doug. I probably wouldn’t have followed the link either had I not heard of the steering problem elsewhere.

  • Sam Moore

    Slightly off-topic, but who actually produces STARS? Coleman?