98-08-12

August 12, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Titan Explosion Update

Air Force Space Command News Service

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR STATION, Fla. (AFSPCNS) -- A Titan IVA launch vehicle with a National Reconnaissance Office payload was launched Aug 12. from Space Launch Complex 41, here.

The launch vehicle began to self-destruct 40 seconds after launch. A large explosion of the vehicle occurred, according to 45th Space Wing officials. At 42 seconds into flight the mission flight control officers sent command destruct signals.

It appears that all of the debris was over water when the anomaly occurred. The altitude of the launch vehicle at the time of the anomaly is estimated at 20,000 feet above the surface. The winds at the altitude were from the southwest at about 20 knots, which would have carried the debris, blast, and any toxic plumes farther out to sea.

The depth of the water at the estimated anomaly point is 20-50 feet. The 45th SW commander, Brig. Gen. F. Randall Starbuck, has appointed Lt. Col. Glenn Vera as the interim mishap board president.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. (Courtesy, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs)