Failure of a brake metering valve caused a B-1B bomber to roll forward into two rescue vehicles after engine shutdown March 7 at Andersen AFB, Guam, according to Air Combat Command. In a Sept. 3 release, ACC said an accident investigation board determined that “malfunction of the right hand brake metering valve caused depletion of the associated brake system accumulators, rendering the aircraft’s brake systems inoperative when the engines shut down.” There were no injuries, but damage to the B-1B, which is assigned to the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and the two firefighting vehicles totaled $5.8 million. Contributing factors included a slight taxiway declination, failure of the aircraft to be chocked in a timely manner, and the inability of the firefighting vehicles to get out of the way of the rolling B-1B, ACC said. (For more, read released portions of the AIB)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.