Static be to Blame for Brazilian Rocket
August 22, 2003: Alcantra
base, Brazil - Rocket Explodes, Killing 21
The blast in northeastern Brazil destroyed two valuable research satellites and delivered a terrible blow to Brazil's new space program. Brazil was trying to be the first Latin American nation to put a satellite in orbit.
The explosion occurred after one of the four main motors of the VLS-1 VO3 rocket accidentally ignited for reasons still unknown. Each of these solid fuel motors are ignited by two mortar shell igniters. The investigation into what caused the accident was expected to take 90 days.
A rocket launched in November 1997 crashed in the Atlantic Ocean after suffering engine problems shortly after blast off.
In December 1999, another Brazilian rocket developed problems and failed three minutes after takeoff. Officials remotely destroyed the rocket.
We in the ESD industry know the dangers of static and explosive devices. This explosion is still an unknown for now.