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Rocket explodes moments after launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. - A Minotaur II+ rocket exploded moments after takeoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base at 11:01 p.m. Wednesday. Debris from the rocket rained down on the launch pad area causing a fire on North Base, producing smoke but no danger to the rest to the rest of the base.

There were no injuries in the explosion, according to a base statement.

"We always have emergency response teams on standby prior to every launch," said Col. Kris Barcomb, Space Launch Delta 30 vice commander and launch decision authority for this launch. "Safety is our priority at all times."

The scheduled test launch was a first supporting the development of the Air Force's new Mk21A re-entry vehicle that will be used on the future LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile, according to officials.

An investigative review board is being put together to determine the cause of the explosion.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County
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Joe Buttitta

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