Low-cost US rocket flops

A commercial rocket packed with cargo that took off from a site in New Mexico malfunctioned before it reached space, organisers have said.

    Knight (L) and Jerry Larson, the company director

    Organisers had hoped that the UP Aerospace SpaceLoft XL rocket would usher in a new era of cheap public access to space.

    It took off on Monday from a remote desert launch site near the town of Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, but went off course 40,000 feet above ground due to a malfunction.

    The Connecticut-based company behind the rocket aims to become the first offering public access to space at accessible prices, with prices starting at a few hundred dollars for small items of cargo.

    The telephone pole-sized rocket had 50 items on board, including a bag of Cheerios, some cremated remains and several school science projects.

    Before the launch, Eric Knight, the UP Aerospace chief executive, said: "This is the first time that a company has allowed direct access to space for the public.

    "It's low cost, it can be regularly scheduled, [and] it's the way it's going to be done by the commercial sector in the future."

    It cleared the launch site but then appeared to spiral, leaving a corkscrew of smoke a few seconds after lift off.

    Mission directors said that the rocket appeared to have come back to Earth and that they hoped to salvage the items on board. They said: "We believe that the vehicle is safely on the ground."

    UP Aerospace has nine flights booked over the next 12 months, taking items weighing up to 110 pounds to the edge of space on a solid fuel rocket that reaches speeds of 3,500 mph. 

       

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.