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Old 09-02-2008, 11:25 AM   #1
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Exclamation Exploding rocket = raining hell

January 17, 1997

An unmanned Delta II rocket carrying a $40 million U.S. Air Force navigational satellite blew up 13 seconds after liftoff Friday morning, Air Force officials said. No injuries were reported.

When the $55 million Delta rocket exploded, an Air Force officer announced over a loudspeaker: "Take cover immediately from falling debris. I'll say again: Take cover immediately from falling debris."

Residents said the blast could be felt as far away as 25 miles. There were reports that store windows 10 miles away were broken by the explosion.

The Air Force said parts of the rocket fell into a cleared safety area in the Atlantic Ocean; other fragments fell onto Air Force property, causing a small brush fire.

The first GPS satellite was launched in 1978. This was the first time a Delta rocket has blown up in more than a decade. The rocket is made by McDonnell Douglas Corp.
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