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Up to 19 killed in Brazilian rocket explosion
Updated: Fri, Aug 22, 2003, 9:10 PM ET (0110 GMT)
Originally Posted: Fri, Aug 22, 2003, 5:28 PM ET (2128 GMT)
VLS-1 launch (AEB) A Brazilian rocket being prepared for a launch attempt next week exploded on Friday afternoon, killing 16 and perhaps as many as 19 people. The VLS-1 was undergoing preparations for a launch from the Alcantara launch facility no sooner than August 25 when it exploded on the pad at around 1:30 pm local time (1630 GMT) Friday afternoon. The explosion destroyed the $6.5-million rocket and the two small satellites it planned to launch. Brazilian officials say that between 16 an 19 people, including a mix of military and civilian technicians, were killed in the explosion, and 20 more have been hospitalized, some in serious condition. There was no initial word regarding what caused the explosion. The explosion is the latest setback in Brazil’s efforts to develop its own launch vehicle. Two previous VLS-1 launches, in 1997 and 1999, failed within minutes of liftoff.
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