MOJAVE -- The test flight appeared to be going well when the 12-foot rocket soared into blue sky. But upon its descent, something went wrong.
On Tuesday, Masten Space System’s Xaero test rocket exploded during a test flight here at Mojave Air and Space Port. There were no injuries, but the vehicle was lost.
The 2-year-old vertical takeoff and landing vehicle launched around 10:30 a.m. on its most ambitious mission to date. It hit 3,280 feet and slowly came down for a landing under rocket power when it began wildly oscillating.
The vehicle's on-board computers appeared to attempt to steady the rocket. But while it was aloft the company said it shut off the liquid oxygen-fueled engine. The 967-pound white rocket tumbled to the ground, creating a massive fire ball that enveloped the small launch pad.