A Minotaur II+ rocket crashed just after launching on a trial mission from California’s Vandenberg Space Force Base last Thursday morning.
“The explosion took place about 11 seconds after launch, which took place at 2:01 a.m. EDT “, as per a short press release issued by Vandenberg officials.
No injuries were noted, and “the debris was contained to the immediate vicinity of the launch pad,” the release stated. It was said that an investigative review board will look for the cause.
“We always have emergency response teams on standby before every launch,” Col. Kris Barcomb, Space Launch Delta 30 vice commander and the decision authority for this launch, added in the statement. “Safety is our priority at all times.”
The Minotaur II+ liftoff was planned to support the development of a re-entry vehicle for the U.S. The Air Force called the Mk21A, which will ultimately ride on an LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile that is also under process, according to CBS News.
“The test launch was intended to demonstrate preliminary design concepts and relevant technologies in operationally realistic environments, according to Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center officials,” CBS reported.
“The Sentinel program is hoped to to replace the “aging” Minuteman III ICBM,” according to the center, which is piloting the project.