The U.S. Air Force’s experimental Super Strypi rocket didn’t get off to a good start. Last night’s first flight experienced a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” Fancy words for it blew up.

Onboard cameras capture the moment the rocket begins to fail. Fast forward to 1:15 in the video below to see the rocket start to spinning erratically.

Shortly after the rocket failure, the U.S. Air Force released a statement to Spaceflight Now.

“The ORS-4 mission on an experimental Super Strypi launch vehicle failed in mid-flight shortly after liftoff at 5:45 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (7:45 p.m. PST; 10:45 p.m. EST) today from the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii. Additional information will be released as it becomes available.”

Here’s a view of the launch from the ground.

The Super Strypi

Super Strypi rocket

As you can see, the Air Force is trying a simpler approach with the Super Strypi. It’s based on a Cold War-era military rocket but upgraded with a modern propulsion system. You see how the rocket is tilted at an angle? It’s attached to a rail on an actuating mount. It should allow engineers to point the rocket where they want it, without needing a complicated self-guidance system.

Last night’s failure wasn’t just the rocket. 13 small satellites were packed into the nose cone. Most of them were NASA-sponsored CubeSats testing new optical sensors and other technologies. The biggest was the 121-pound HiakaSat from the University of Hawaii. It was going to test new Earth observation technologies with its hyperspectral imaging camera.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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