PHOTO 100-- Flight C-35 : August 18, 1984
|Shortly after clearing the launch rail, something went awry.|
A large flame was seen to spew from the back end of the rocket, and the nosecone (with attached parachute) separated from the rocket. The rocket slowly climbed to about 100 feet (30 metres) altitude, then fell, nose first, to the ground.
Inspection of the rocket showed that the motor head attachment bolts had severed (investigation later revealed that these were understrength).
In the photo, the motor, which was expelled from the rocket by the sudden release of pressure, is seen about mid-distance in the smoke trail.
The rocket was extensively damaged by the burning propellant that was blown into the upper fuselage. Fortunately, failures such as this were rare, this being only the second motor failure to occur out of the 57 flights conducted.