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Minotaur II+ rocket explodes seconds after liftoff from Vandenberg SFB

vandenberg space force base.jpg
Posted at 12:48 AM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 04:47:36-04

The planned launch of a Minotaur II+ rocket ended in failure after an explosion late Wednesday night from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Approximately 11 seconds after launching at 11:01 p.m., base officials say the unarmed rocket exploded and landed in the area around the launch pad along with debris.

VSFB officials reported no injuries but say the explosion did cause a fire on North Base.

"We always have emergency response teams on standby prior to every launch," Col. Kris Barcomb, Space Launch Delta 30 vice commander and launch decision authority for the launch said in a press release. "Safety is our priority at all times."

The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time, and an investigative review board is looking into it.

The Vandenberg Fire Department was on scene at the fire as of 1 a.m.

Officials say there is smoke in the area but add that it is not an immediate danger to other parts of the base.

The launch was scheudled to be the first test supporting the development of the Air Force’s new Mk21A reentry vehicle.

It was planned to be used for the military's future LGM-35 Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile.

According to the Air Force, the Sentinel missile “will not just be a new missile but a fully integrated launch, flight and infrastructure system with modern command and control features."

Both are being developed by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.

This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.