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    Sea Launch Investigating Rocket Explosion

    (Jan. 31, 2007) -- As reported on our front page ( yesterday, on January 30 the Sea Launch website reported that a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL vehicle, carrying the NSS-8 satellite "experienced an anomaly today [Jan. 30] during launch operations."

    Spokeswoman Paula Korn told that there was an apparent explosion at the rocket launch platform (remote from the command vehicle some distance away with personnel) at the equator at about the launch time (3:22 p.m. PST)...but what actually happened is still being investigated.

    The company website indicates that "all personnel at the launch site are safe and accounted for" and "Sea Launch will establish a Failure Review Oversight Board to determine the root cause of this anomaly."

    Launch operations begin in Long Beach, where a satellite payload is received, the rocket is fueled and then taken to the equator for launch at 154 degrees West Longitude (1,400 miles south of the Big Island of Hawaii at the equator). Sea Launch says it uses a three stage rocket with all stages kerosene/liquid oxygen fueled.

    Reuters coverage: Satellite Destroyed As Rocket Explodes on Lift-off.

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