Wednesday, January 31, 2007

CATO history: Delta II

I decided to search for 'rocket explosion' on YouTube and found numerous vids. The ones that caught my eye, and interest, were of a Delta II that CATOed spectacularly in the skies over Cape Canaveral on January 17, 1997. Shortly after launch, one of the SRBs CATOed, taking out the vehicle, the GPS satellite it was carrying, and the cars in the parking lot of the nearby block house. The old High Power Rocketry mag had an excellent article written by Marc Lavigne (Vol.13 Issue 5, dated July 1998; it was most likely received after that date as HPR had its production problems). Marc was working in said blockhouse during the event and was trapped for over an hour afterwards. He had excellent photos of smoldering reinforced concrete, craters, and other devastation. A week afterwards, he got to visit the parking lot and the remains of his car. Nothing flammable was left, the windows were blown out and the remaining glass was partially melted. Curiously, a cereal bowl on the passenger seat was left intact. The heat must have been intense, but short-lived. Cool in a sad sort of way.

This coverage was taken from several miles away, and shows the whole event nicely:



This CNN coverage is closer to the pad:



This one is the best IMO, it has close-up views of the launch, burning remains falling to the ground, and the aftermath.