Rocket launch at Pacific Spaceport Complex suffers failure, crashes after liftoff

It was the first flight for the RS1 rocket and was being used primarily as a test, according to sources
A rocket crashed shortly after launch at the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska, located on...
A rocket crashed shortly after launch at the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska, located on Kodiak Island.(Brionna Sharratt)
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:08 PM AKST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2023 at 12:31 PM AKST
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KODIAK, Alaska (KTUU) - A rocket launch at the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska on Kodiak Island suffered a critical failure on Tuesday afternoon and crashed shortly after launch.

Witnesses reported seeing smoke coming from the area where the Pacific Spaceport Complex - Alaska is located, and captured video of the event showing thick, dark smoke rising from the complex’s grounds.

According to a representative of aerospace company ABL Space Systems, an RS1 rocket manufactured by their company was involved in Tuesday’s crash, but no on-the-ground personnel at the facility were injured.

“We can confirm that all personnel are safe,” ABL Space Systems representative Emily Perkins-Rock said. “The mission update we have right now is that after liftoff, RS1 suffered an anomaly. The team is working through our anomaly response procedures in coordination with PSCA and the FAA. This is not the outcome we were hoping for today, but one that we prepared for. We’ll revert with additional information when it becomes available.”

It was the first flight for the RS1 rocket and was being used primarily as a test.

According to the ABL Space Systems website, the RS1 rocket was a one-ton class launch vehicle flown by ABL, and was expected to be used as part of multiple missions for NASA, the Department of Defense, and a variety of commercial customers to launch satellites into low earth orbit.

The RS1 is designed to use less infrastructure than other rocket launching methods and is powered by RP-1 or Jet-A fuels. According to ABL, the company has an agreement with Alaska Aerospace Corporation for the launch of RS1 rockets from the Kodiak facility.

This story has been updated with additional information.