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Report blames management problems for Brazilian accident
Posted: Wed, Mar 17, 2004, 6:56 AM ET (1156 GMT)
VLS-1 launch (AEB) An investigation has pinned the root cause of an August 2003 rocket explosion at Brazil's launch site on poor management and a lack of funding. The final report into the August 22 accident at the Alcantara launch site said that an electrical flaw ignited one of four solid rocket motors on a VLS-1 booster, triggering an explosion that killed 21 workers. While the exact nature of the electrical problem wasn't identified in the report, investigators said the flaw was indicative of larger problems of management and funding that jeopardized safety at the site. Other problems at Alcantara cited in the report include electrical wiring insufficiently insulated to prevent interference, a lack of proper documentation, and buildups of dangerous gases. The Brazilian defense minister, Jose Viegas, accepted the recommendations and said they would be implemented. He told the Associated Press that it would cost up to $100 million to revamp the nation's space program, whose current budget is only $30 million a year, with a goal of launching a satellite by 2006.
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