Pop goes the launch

Published: Monday 15 December 1997

brazil's floundering space programme suffered another blow when the ground control was forced to destroy the first space rocket launched in Brazil after one of its four engines failed to start. Colonel Thiago da Silva Ribiero, spokesperson of the Brazilian space agency, said controllers destroyed the 20-metre rocket by remote control 65 seconds after lift-off at 10.25 am local time from the Alcantara base in the northeastern state of Maranhao on November 2. The rocket had reached an altitude of 3,320 metres when it had to be destroyed.

The rocket had been built at a cost of about us $6.5 million. It was scheduled to carry a satellite into the Earth's orbit to gather environmental and agricultural data. But officials of the space agency said the agency will go ahead with scheduled launches in each of the coming three years.

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