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The Nation : AF Blamed in Rocket Loss

May 12, 1987

A NASA investigating board blamed "a bad call" by Air Force weathermen for allowing a $78-million Atlas-Centaur rocket and its $83-million cargo to be launched in March into electricity-charged skies, where they were destroyed by lightning. Jon R. Busse, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration official who headed the probe, said that there were "a significant number of indications throughout the day that the weather was unfavorable, and, specifically, that there was a lightning hazard." Busse said a single lightning flash, triggered by the rocket's liftoff, was the most probable cause of the loss.

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