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Boeing Rocket Failure Found

June 27, 1999

SEATTLE (AP) _ A breach in the combustion chamber of a Pratt & Whitney rocket engine is probably the reason why a communications satellite was sent into the wrong orbit last month, Boeing Co. officials say.

A computerized reconstruction of the event indicated that ``an explosive-type event″ in the chamber was caused by a breach during the launch using a Delta III rocket May 4 from Cape Canaveral, Fla., said a Boeing statement issued Friday.

Russell Reck, engineering director for Boeing’s expendable launch systems program in Huntington Beach, Calif., said the next goal is to determine the cause of the breach.

It was the second launch failure in as many attempts with the Delta III. The first ended in self-destruction of the rocket because of a guidance malfunction in August.

Boeing has firm customers for 18 more launches with the Delta III. The next is set for this fall.

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