98-08-31

August 31, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Air Force Releases Titan IVA Photos, Videos

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla. – Accident Investigation Board officials are releasing videos and photos from the Aug. 12 Titan IVA mishap taken by launch range cameras.

This is the first time an Air Force investigative board has released information from a modern space launch mishap so soon after an accident. The move is in step with the Air Force Space Launch Mishap policy implemented Feb. 18, 1998, according to Maj. Gen. Robert C. Hinson, Accident Investigation Board president. Hinson said data is still being evaluated and conclusions should not be drawn from the videos and photos.

The Titan IVA mishap occurred 40 seconds into launch when the vehicle, carrying a National Reconnaissance Office payload, started to self-destruct. Seconds later mission flight control officers sent command destruct signals. Air Force investigators have been appointed to try to determine a cause of the incident.

As for progress of the investigation, Hinson said two significant items have occurred. The Range Operations Control Center Instrumentation was released to the 45th Space Wing on Aug. 21. Additionally, Launch Complex 41 was returned to the wing on Aug. 27.

The Navy-led debris salvaging operation is ongoing, according to Hinson. So far, the search and salvage team has recovered more than 300 items from the launch vehicle and satellite that have been secured, catalogued and stored for the investigation.

Hinson said he’s appreciative of the assistance provided by these organizations and by the general public who have helped identify debris suspected of being from the Titan IVA mishap. "We appreciate the help in collecting items that may have washed ashore," he said. "Again, we would like people to call the 45th Space Wing command post at (407) 494-7001 and report the location of those items. For safety reasons, we urge you not to pick up any debris."

Media Note: Copies of Titan IVA videotape and stills will be available at the Cape Canaveral Visitor Control Center at 11 a.m., Sept. 1. Local media should contact Capt. LeWonnie Belcher, (407) 476-3436 to reserve copies. Media outside the local area should call and provide a billing account for express shipments. All other requests will be mailed at the regular postal rate.