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Release 98-08-07
12 Aug 98


Titan Explosion Update

CAPE CANAVERAL AS, Fla.-- A Titan IVA launch vehicle with a national Reconnaissance Office payload launched from Space Launch Complex 41 here today 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 the debris fell 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 sea level.  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. Randy Starbuck, has appointed Lt. Col. Glenn Vera as the interim mishap board president. 

A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. today.

Further information will be released as it becomes available. 

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