back to article NASA test rocket explodes

A NASA rocket carrying two hypersonic experiments this morning exploded shortly after take-off from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, the agency reports. The Alliant Tech Systems ALV X-1 was carrying the HYBOLT experiment designed to "obtain unique high-speed flight data for fundamental boundary layer transition flow …


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  1. Andy Worth


    "This debris could be hazardous"

    It could also be top secret, for those who like wearing their tin foil hats.

  2. Dick Emery


    ...shit blows up. It's not rocket science you know. No wait.

  3. Stephen Gray


    I was really looking forward to reading that high-speed flight data for fundamental boundary layer transition flow physics

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Sometimes... By Dick Emery

    Good one!

  5. Anonymous Coward


    ...goes the weasle!

    Mines the one with matching tinfoil hat....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there a... of it????

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    "debris being sighted on land. This debris could be hazardous"

    Damn right the debris could be hazardous - if it fell on your head it would be hazardous. Sounds like they're trying to guard some secret military tech... cue lots of dead cows (and people making model volcanoes out of mashed 'tata)

    How long before some of this turns up on ebay?

  8. Steve

    Flight data

    So, how much more unique do they want it?

  9. Beelzeebub


    I'd love to see 'em mashed.

    Mebbe then I can get a job in the UK.

  10. Angus Cooke


    It looks like the experiment to study the physics of exploding rocket parts in an oxygen rich atmosphere kicked off a little prematurely!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No, really.

    I know you think I'm just being pedantic (as if!) but really, what's the 'K' for?

  12. Keith Williams


    Nasa rockets blowing up is not Unique.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be fair

    It was an experiment. Experiments DO fail from time to time you know.

    Hardly on par with 'Oh 5hit! Better advertise for another seven astronauts'?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    The Intercept Lasers...

    Work then...

  15. Anonymous Coward

    NASA - too easy a target

    It's a good job NASA already got a rocket to the moon and back otherwise I'd be sorely tempted to suggest that they are a bunch of overfunded, under-educated, useless tw@s and that this "space" malarky is all new to them.

  16. dervheid

    Nasa Rocket Debris.

    I believe there's a substantial section dedicated to this on eBay.

    Occasionally also listed under "souvenirs"

  17. evilbobthebob


    Please tell me there's a good reason for a debris emergency hotline being called this...

  18. Sillyfellow
    Black Helicopters

    a tale of financial loss

    seems to me that this would be the most ideal way to cover up a very large budget scientific project gone totally wrong...

    or indeed to steal the money that was supposed to have been spent on the 'devices' in that rocket, then put a bunch of scrap in the rocket and have it blow up on or shortly after takeoff.... then claim insurance too ;)

  19. Philip Alexander


    That was careless of them

    Mine's the one with Fireball XL5 in the pocket

  20. Zmodem

    @fundamental boundary layer transition flow physics

    guess its the inner friction layer of the air pocket the rocket/plane creates and flies in

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @NASA - too easy a target

    Actually the problem is likely that they're UNDER funded. After all, we have to have our useless little war first, health care, exploration and research are way, way down the list somewhere.

  22. Jesse

    RE: NASA - too easy a target

    No doubt, stupid NASA. The innocent victim in this case, and I'll take this directly from the article and bold it for you, is "THE ROCKET'S MAKER ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMS"

    I'll forgive the obvious misguided attempt to bash a US government organization on the internet because it is so rarely done, and because NASA does have its failures (some colossal at that!).

    Reducing their funding and increasing the bureaucracy over the past 50 or so years couldn't have helped.

    Just remember, there are guys just like you who work at NASA. Lucky lucky NASA.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @NASA - too easy a target

    As opposed to all the successful rocket launches by your own esteemed island?

  24. Bryce Prewitt

    @ too easy a target

    Actually, the problem is that they're now a bureaucracy populated by overeducated unexperienced twats that think they're far more clever than they really are.

  25. Franklin


    ...the title should read "Alliant Systems test rocket explodes," since it was designed and built by Alliant, not by NASA?

    In any event, the rocket parts very well could be hazardous. Alliant builds solid-fuel rockets, not liquid-fuel rockets. Perchlorate compounds, which are key ingredients in solid rocket fuel, are pretty nasty. In addition to being strong oxidizers, they're also toxic, and can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

  26. dom

    transition flow physics

    I thought that was the transition from solid matter to hot flames to dust.

  27. StopthePropaganda

    got "Walloped"?

    in other news, NASA prepares another test launch from it's new launch rig "Charliefoxtrot". This was after launching from the town of Murphy, Ala was considered tempting fate too much...

    It was aliens I tells ya! Alien overlords afraid Earthlings would get hyperspace technology....or was that hypersonic technology...well..close enough since Earth isn't their primary language...

  28. Frank
    Thumb Up

    @sillyfellow re.a tale of financial loss

    "..then put a bunch of scrap in the rocket and have it blow up on or shortly after takeoff.... then claim insurance too.."

    That is a very serious implied allegation. (It's a damn good idea though!)

  29. SkippyBing Silver badge


    I think you'll find our esteemed island managed a rocket launch, got a satellite into orbit and then decided to do something else, so that's pretty much 100% success then.

  30. Solomon Grundy
    Black Helicopters

    @NASA - too easy a target

    You fool! NASA never went to the moon - it was all faked, I thought everyone knew that. That's why they are unable to replicate the experience now and have to build (almost identical) equipment, but for real this time. Jeez.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    POOR reporting...

    Erm, as someone's pointed out, it wasn't a NASA rocket, it was an Alliant Techsystems rocket.

    But most importantly, you've neglected to point out that it was a deliberate explosion. The rocket didn't follow its predetermined course and had to be detonated remotely to ensure it didn't do any proper damage. The failure they're investigating is why it veered off course, not why it unexpectedly blew up.

    As for videos, try -> news

  32. Zmodem

    @@NASA - too easy a target

    briton can out do america at everything. its just 70% full of wasters with 900kids to a 3bed council house

  33. Anonymous Coward

    The reason:

    a sonic screwdriver was left inside the rocket, too close to an O-ring.

  34. n

    HMS Camden Lock....

    Don't slag off the UK space program. No other country in the world has managed to successfully land a lifeless dustbin lid with a metallic tampon on mars.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    ah - when I said NASA, too easy a target, it seems...

    AC @ 14:40 - got the joke - good expansion on my theme ;o)

    Jesse didn't ... the reason NASA are useless is because they DON'T have people like me.

    AC @ 15:22 - doesn't even warrant a mention and I see a fellow of my septic isle got there first - cheers Zmodem

    Bryce Prewitt - good point, well made, I stand corrected

    Solomon Grundy - yes mate... the comment was supposed to be loaded with a good dollop of sarcasm - sorry you missed it. Fool? I think not. ZEEJ.

    AC 17:32 - thanks for the update - it's nice to know that this particular waste of public funds was deliberate.

    n ... regarding "HMS Camden Lock", eh? No other country in the world has such big lunatic asylums... I wouldn't go shouting that out either.

  36. Gulfie

    After over 50 years...'d think they could get a simple rocket launch right by now. Come on guys, how hard can it be? Just pointbit skywards, light the blue touchpaper, and stand well back.

  37. Rafferty McDonald

    Need more unit tests

    <XtremeProgramming BUMP>

    Maybe they needed more (any?) unit tests on the rocket control code; whoops! TDD style!

    </XtremeProgramming BUMP>

  38. Zmodem

    @NASA - too easy a target

    good job i walk around the dark space ship with my mental powers, probaly testing out my reinforced carbon fiber/toughend graphite hull

  39. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    hmmm , those old AIM56'S rocket motors have been just a tad too long in storage I see !

    But some things don't age well if kept in storage and out of circulation for too long !

  40. sauerkraut

    wo ist...

    ... wernher von braun, wenn man ihn so dringend braucht...

  41. Bradley Wright

    Bang Crash Wallop - what no picture?

    Sorry, I couldn't resist


  42. Gareth Jones

    @Skippy Bing

    And it's still up there sending out signals, which is a much longer service life than most US space hardware. Tell me again where Skylab is now.

  43. Luther Blissett

    Some people live and learn - others just live

    StopthePropaganda wrote > NASA prepares another test launch from it's new launch rig "Charliefoxtrot"

    Got to video this one, to catch the sassay, the heel-drag, and the swish corner turns, before the final come-down.

    When robots do the Charleston then machines can be considered to possess cultural reflexivity, and RoTM will be past tense. RIP IT Up now!

  44. Andrew Norris

    UK Space Agency..

    Of course old Blighty has a proud space history...

    And no, no one has ever answered the question: How are we going to reuse it?

    But to be fair, the rocket was designed and built by ATK. NASA only paid to put two experiments on it. Of course, are not ATK the same people who make the polaris and other solid rocket nuke missles???!! Hmmm......

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When Britain gets...

    ...a railway that is open at the weekends, then maybe it can comment.

    The Fifth Column

    p.s. When does Customer Service arrive in Blighty?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @@NASA - too easy a target by AC

    As opposed to all the successful rocket launches by your own esteemed island?

    Well the UK IS part of ESA which in turn has the highest launch succes rate.

    (none UK person here)

  47. Anonymous Coward

    El Reg, you're slipping

    Where is *your* photograph of the incident, showing the rocket was infact a Transformer .....

    Mine's the one with a Transformer icon in the pocket because there isn't one here

  48. Stone Fox

    @AC 21:53

    1)You've never been here have you?

    2)You'll notice customer service here the second you lose the irritating accent and arrogance.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @stone fox

    1) No, have lived here over 30 years (dual National, dontcha know), I know the rail system FAR too well.

    2) The only customer service in this country is from foreigners. Arrongance come from the locals.

    The Fifth Column

  50. Charles Manning

    Too much bureaucracy?

    Well what do you expect. NASA == National Aeronautics and Space Administration. See the last word: ADMINISTRATION.

    It is an administration, run by administrators for the benefit of administrators. The two top posts are Bush appointees.

    There is nothing about science in the name, so why expect it to be run on a scientific basis?

    Still, for an organisation that has been pushing tin into space for over 50 years you might hope for a better track record, with shuttle launches being almost mundane. Approx 5 launches a year and approx one in 60 resulting in the deaths of all crew members, they've hardly made space flight routine.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    The rockets...

    ..I let off always go bang.

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