US rocket carrying prototype hypersonic weapon explodes after takeoff

United States -

The Dept. of Defense (DoD) says that a malfunction in the rocket's computer system shortly after liftoff forced the military to detonate the rocket.

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Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratories

Kodiak Launch Complex

Seconds after a rocket carrying the military's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon lifted off, the rocket's nose dipped down and the military detonated the vehicle. While there were no injuries, the debris from the rocket did do significant damage to the launch site.

"It's a concept that will allow the DoD to engage any target anywhere in the world in less than an hour." Maureen Schumann, DoD spokeswoman

The hypersonic weapon is designed to send an armed "glide vehicle" into the atmosphere that can then, in theory, be sent to attack any location on Earth.

The vehicle was first tested in 2011, when it flew from Hawaii to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific, which was the planned destination of the aborted Aug. 25 launch. China also conducted a test of a hypersonic weapon in January.

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