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Preparedness

Hazards - Launch Anomaly

Brevard Web Banner_Launch Anomaly

Overview of the Hazard

Space Coast residents have the unique opportunity of living near our country’s gateway to space exploration; however, residents and visitors should be aware that launch accidents can and do occur.

Brevard County Emergency Management coordinates with federal, state, local, and space industry partners to ensure precautions have been taken for the safety of residents and visitors to our area. However, there is always the potential of hazardous materials and/or debris which may impact the county.


Launch Anomaly Quick Facts

Launch/Flyback Anomaly Public Safety Considerations

    Public safety is the number one priority of all agencies associated with space launches and flybacks. There are three primary safety considerations evaluated prior to a launch being approved:
  • Hazardous material dispersion,
  • Distant focusing overpressure (DFO), and
  • Debris dispersal.

    For all three hazards, statistical analysis and modeling is conducted for every space launch by the 45th Space Wing Range Safety to determine whether there will be:
  • Little to no risk on-base or off-base,
  • Minimal acceptable level of risk on-base, or;
  • Minimal acceptable level of risk off-base.

  • Although a launch accident may be startling, it is recommended for residents to shelter-in-place regardless of the identified public safety concern until there is an “all-clear” issued by local public safety officials.

 



Historic/Possible Impacts

  • A launch anomaly provides the potential of hazardous materials and/or debris which may impact the county.
  • On January 17, 1997 a Delta II rocket exploded 13 seconds into flight due to a malfunction. Debris from the explosion fell into the Atlantic Ocean, and on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Some debris landed around the launch pad, and a small fire started. Other debris landed in the parking lot outside the complex blockhouse, destroying twenty cars that were located there. Two hundred and fifty tons of debris fell within 910 metres (3,000 ft) of the launch pad. One piece of debris made a hole in a cable track, allowing smoke to enter the blockhouse.
  • On August 12, 1998 the Titan IV A20 exploded. Several thousand pieces of solid propellant and fragments of the launch vehicle were scattered over an area extending approximately five miles downrange and three miles north-south off the coastal boundary of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In addition, a cloud containing unspent rocket propellant was generated. The winds were measured to be approximately four knots from the southwest (241 degrees) and took the cloud harmlessly out to sea. All toxic materials remained within the established predicted toxic corridor. At no time during this incident was there a toxic risk to any person. Additionally, no debris impacted the land. For several minutes after the explosion, Range radar reported tracking debris into the area bordered by the impact limit lines.
  • On June 28, 2015 the Falcon CRS 7 exploded 139 seconds into the launch. The booster continued on its trajectory until the vehicle completely broke up several seconds later. The Dragon CRS-7 capsule was ejected from the exploding launch vehicle and continued transmitting data until it impacted with the ocean.


What Would You Do?

Before, During, After

  • Know your risks
  • Build a kit
  • Make a plan
  • Stay informed


Public Safety Actions

  • In the event of any launch or flyback anomaly, it is recommended to remain calm and shelter-in-place.
  • If you are outside viewing the launch, return inside (with your pets) and close all windows and doors. Do not use the A/C, heat, or fireplace, and close the fireplace’s damper.
  • If you are in a vehicle, roll up windows, turn your air conditioning or fan off or on recirculate, and leave the area to find a safe shelter as soon as possible.
  • Then stay informed via radio, TV and/or social media, awaiting an “all-clear” to be issued by local public safety officials.

Brevard County Emergency Management Office

1746 Cedar Street
Rockledge, Florida 32955
Tel: (321) 637-6670
Fax: (321) 633-1738

Director
Kimberly Prosser

 
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