Rocket launch from Hawaiʻi carrying UH payload experiences anomaly

November 3, 2015  |   |  14 Comments
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Editor’s note: The original story was updated to reflect launch vehicle anomaly

The U.S. Navy along with the U.S. Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office, in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Hawaiʻi’s Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory, the Pacific Missile Range Facility and Aerojet Rocketdyne Corp. launched the first rocket from Hawaiʻi.

After take-off, the experimental launch vehicle experienced an anomaly. ORS is currently assessing the cause.

The rocket was launched from the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauaʻi, through a mission known as ORS-4. The mission was sponsored by the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Operationally Responsive Space Office and was the first launch of the Super Strypi launch system. The rocket was carrying UH’s hyperspectral imager as the primary payload, along with 12 cubesats in an integrated payload stack.

Despite the vehicle issue, the project is still a tremendous success for University of Hawaiʻi. About 150 students worked on the payload, a hyperspectral imager called HiakaSat. All milestones for the payload were met and the students received real-world aerospace experience in building a sophisticated satellite.

Because of this project, there is now a rocket launch pad and rail launcher in place at Pacific Missle Range Facility and those assets performed well today. There are also tracking stations in place at Kauaʻi Community College and Honolulu Community College that are fielding requests for services from commercial agencies. UH students at multiple campuses, including the community colleges, are currently working on payloads for future space launches.

Super Strypi

The Super Strypi launch vehicle fastened to a rail launch system at the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi. (credit: U.S. Air Force)

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14 Comments

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  1. Cammie Matsumoto says:

    This is a great story of a great learning experience, filled with pride and eagerness as we look forward to more of these progressive partnerships and projects. This project has also been remarkable in strengthening campus-campus links across the UH system binding us together, which has ignited excitement for everyone at every level. Congratulations Team UH!

  2. Tony Balasquide says:

    Because of this project, there is now a rocket launch pad and rail launcher in place at Pacific Missile Range Facility and those assets performed well today. There are also tracking stations in place at Kauaʻi Community.

    Why wasn’t consider the old launching missiles site use by the US. ARMY for the Nike-Hercules or Ajax missiles? Just an observation. No need to follow up with a respond.

  3. Clifford Nishimura says:

    Hey, in this business things blow up. It IS rocket science, after all. No need to downplay a failure as an “anomaly” or “vehicle issue.” All in all, this was a great opportunity for UH students. I understand that there may be a second and final attempt unless the program is cancelled.

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