Night Launch

This is a night launch of a two-stage Nike Orion sounding rocket (NASA 31.071UE) from Poker Flat, Alaska on March 7, 1994. The rocket failed to reach its planned maximum altitude and this image revealed that both stages simultaneously ignited on the launch pad. The upper stage is to the left, while the lower stage is to the right. Since the lower stage had no nosecone, it was unstable and broke apart as can be seen in this image. The aurora (Northern Lights) is visible in the background at the launch facility.

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