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Wallops Rocket Launch Disappoints

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An attempted NASA rocket launch from Virginia's Wallops Island resulted in a watery disappointment earlier this week.
An attempted NASA rocket launch from Virginia's Wallops Island resulted in a watery disappointment earlier this week.

NASA says a suborbital rocket launched Tuesday morning from its Wallops Island facility on Virginia's Eastern shore splashed into the ocean just 19 seconds after liftoff.

NASA's terminology for yesterday's 4:36 a.m. launch is that the suborbital rocket's flight ended prematurely as it malfunctioned just seconds after liftoff and 27,000 feet into its climb. It crashed about a nautical mile away from the launching pad in an oceanic hazard zone in the Atlantic that was designated before the launch.

The Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket was testing new suborbital rocket technologies, including a deployment system for creating vapor clouds used to study upper-atmosphere winds.

This premature end to the rocket's flight tops off a frustrating week for the team at Wallops, as this rocket launch had been postponed for four straight days. NASA officials are investigating the crash and say they will update the public as more details become available.


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