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15-Sep-98 | Delta flight 259 – Galaxy 10 (FAILURE)

At 71.5 seconds into flight, the first Delta III was destroyed. Around 55s into flight, a 4-Hertz roll oscillation began. All control systems — the main engine gimbal, two vernier engines, and three Thrust Vector Control (TVC) solid motors — attempted to compensate for the roll. Ten seconds later, the TVC system used up the last of its expendable hydraulic fluid, which left two motors providing an over-turning movement. The main engine and verniers were unable to compensate, and the vehicle yawed too far and broke apart, triggering the self-destruct system. Investigators now seem to believe the unanticipated oscillation was caused by a control failure in the TVC system.

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