New satellite launch attempt crashes

March 25, 2006 at 10:48 AM
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MAJURO, Marshall Islands, March 25 (UPI) -- An attempt to launch an experimental rocket with a U.S. Air Force Academy satellite on board was destroyed a minute after takeoff.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX's Falcon 1 was designed to be a low-cost satellite launcher but officials say soon after its Marshall Islands take-off it spun out of control.

Spokeswoman Gwynn Shotwell said cameras on board captured a minute of its rocky launch before breaking down, the BBC reports.

Owner Elon Musk, co-founder of the Internet billing system PayPal, was optimistic.

"We had a successful lift-off and Falcon made it well clear of the launch pad, but unfortunately the vehicle was lost later in the first-stage burn," he said.

The satellite on board, FalconSat-2, was designed by Air Force cadets to look at weather in space.

The $6.7 million price tag for Falcon 1 is considered low in the launcher industry and won't be the last attempt by SpaceX.

Officials say they have $200 million worth of contracts lined up.

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