Alcantara Launch Center
On 23 August 2003 the VLS exploded days before its scheduled launch into space, killing at least 16 people and injuring 20 others. The explosion destroyed the Brazilian VLS-1 V-03 rocket designed to carry two satellites into orbit. One of the four main boosters on the rocket ignited, causing a massive explosion that sent a thick plume of smoke in the air over the Alcantara Launch Center, located near Brazil's sparsely-populated northern coast. Officials say the blast occurred without warning and caused the launching pad to collapse, killing civilian technicians who were concluding several days of tests ahead of the VLS rocket's launch scheduled for next week. Damage was limited to the launching area. The rocket, valued at more than two-million dollars, was to carry two satellites, which would have made Brazil the first Latin American nation to launch a satellite into space on its own.
The Aug. 22 explosion killed 21 people after an engine ignited by mistake while on its launch pad. The rocket exploded at its jungle base of Alcantara, in the northeastern state of Maranhao, Brazil.
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