On May 3, 1986 a stunning loss of a U.S. Delta rocket carrying a critically-needed weather satellite occurred. The rocket suffered a shutdown of its main engine during launch and began to veer off course, causing the range safety officer to destroy it.
        The takeoff of the blue and white Delta "workhorse" from launch Pad A at Cape Canaveral at first appeared picture-perfect. About a minute later, six of the nine booster rockets were expended and the remaining three switched on. Shortly after that, the rocket seemed to lose power. The main liquid-fueled engine had suddenly shut down, with the three strap-on boosters still burning. The rocket then had no stability and started to slowly drift off course, creating an increasing angle of attack. Within a few seconds, the nose cone snapped off under the severe stress. The U.S. Air Force range safety officer then sent a destruct command to the stricken rocket, which exploded in a ball of flame.
        The Delta, built by McDonnell Douglas, had previously piled up a continuous string of 43 successful launches. Since 1960, 177 launches have occurred, and the success rate has been 94%. The Delta is one of the most reliable rockets ever built.
        The unexpected shutdown of the main engine was perplexing. At a news conference following the mishap, William Russell. NASA’s Delta project manager. stated: "It was a very sharp shutdown. almost as if it were a command shutdown."
        Preliminary data, such as turbine speed and temperatures in and around the engine, "all appeared to be very normal." Russell said.
        It may well have been a "command shutdown," unknown to Bill Russell and his NASA engineers.
        Preliminary runs of the videotapes of the incident, aired by the national TV news media, show that during liftoff, a mysterious light approached the rocket from below and from the side. rising and striking the vehicle. This light and its path are strongly reminiscent of the first anomalous "light streak and ball" photo taken by Bob Gladwin just prior to the shuttle launch on November 26, 1985.
        Let’ s suppose that on May 3 the Soviet scalar EM grid was in the launch Phase ABM system mode and was tracking the launch of the Delta rocket.
        If the anomalous light that moved up and contacted the rocket was a small ball of continuous electromagnetic energy formed by a distant Soviet scalar EM howitzer, then the rocket’s main engine control circuits would have received a sudden and continuous pulse of EM power. This would probably have shutdown the engine by an actual "command" signal, artificially delivered. *

  *Engineers have now determined that such a shorting of the engine circuitry occurred, causing engine shutdown.

        Certainly such mysterious switching of satellite circuits has occurred before, probably due to Soviet scalar EM precision testing. For example, the British Ariel VI satellite has exhibited very strange anomalies in its command and control circuitry -- in fact, with very precise control switching being exhibited as if from an external source.
        Thus a very small scalar EM missile may have been utilized by the Soviets to disrupt the control circuits in the rocket. A resulting pulse of power in the engine shutdown command circuit could have "ordered" the shutdown of the main engine -- just as it appeared.
        It remains to be seen whether or not the Soviets used a "marker beacon" associated with the disruption of the Delta launch. One news photograph seems to contain a suggestion of such a light, but the videotapes must be studied frame by frame before it can be ascertained exactly what if anything is really there.
        If a marker beacon was not used, the distant Soviet operator could simply have "popped out" the continuous EM ball of energy, tracked it and the ascending rocket exhaust, and "joysticked" the scalar EM missile up into the rocket.
        Analysis of this incident is continuing, so nothing is certain as we go to press.
        However, if this incident was indeed another Soviet kill, then it will have served the Russians well. Much of the world’s media attention will now be focused on NASA’s launch difficulties, and away from the recent Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in the Soviet Union. It’s bound to take some of the media pressure off the Soviets.
        In addition, it further cripples the U.S. satellite program.  Loss of this critical weather satellite payload seriously reduces U.S. weather monitoring capabilities.
        Further, the U.S. space program now appears to be all but grounded by the Challenger, Titan, and Delta explosions. For example, it will require about 18 months for the U.S. to redesign the shuttle so that America’s shuttle program can get going again. So things are delayed until summer of 1987 at the earliest.
        Meanwhile, the Russians are set to grasp the lead in the space race. In 1985 they launched about 100 rockets, five times as many as the U.S. They have a shuttle program of their own, well underway, with a flight expected within months. Earlier this year, they launched Mir, a second generation space station; a U.S. version is still some eight years away.
        Charles Vick, of Huntsville, Alabama’s Space and Rocket Center, summed it up: "They have their standard military program, a shuttle program and the equivalent of an Apollo program, all within a 10-year period. It’s awesome."
        An experienced propagandist like Gorbachev certainly understands the advantages of a strong Soviet push into space, such as (1) military advantage, (2) national prestige, (3) scientific achievement, and (4) projecting an image in the world’s news media that the Soviets are first in space exploration.
         So the failure of the Delta rocket provides many benefits to the Soviet Union.
         It also continues to exercise and demonstrate Soviet mastery of the skies over North America itself.
         Meanwhile, two U.S. nuclear submarines have "inadvertently" run aground in the last month or so.
         Gorbachev again seems disposed toward a summit meeting soon.
         If it’s held, the agenda may be quite different from the one President Reagan is prepared for.
         The clock ticks on toward midnight.


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