Rocket Carrying Astronaut's Remains Explodes After Launch

The rocket failed to reach its target altitude due to an anomaly.

A rocket carrying the remains of NASA Astronaut Philip K. Chapman exploded shortly after launch.

The 20-foot-tall UP Aerospace rocket was set to launch this week from Spaceport America in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

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According to ABC 7, the rocket failed to reach its target altitude due to an anomaly.

Celestis, a company specializing in space memorials, said all participants on the launch would be included in the next available mission.

“We have full confidence that UP Aerospace will find and fix the problem, and we look forward to flying again with them when they are ready,” the company said in a statement.

In addition to the remains of Chapman and chemist Louise Ann O’Deen, the rocket was also carrying 13 payloads from NASA’s TechRise Student Challenge.

NASA confirmed the launch issues but expressed continued confidence in UP while consoling the students’ whose experiments were on board.

"While this is obviously a disappointing outcome for today’s flight, that should not diminish the work it took to get here,” the agency said.

Update: Celestis said all 120 flight capsules are safely in the hands of launch personnel and will be returned to the company awaiting its next flight as soon as UP and Spaceport America complete their investigation and any required fixes are implemented.

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