The rail-launched Super Strypi rocket was part of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS)-4 mission.
"The ORS-4 mission on an experimental Super Strypi launch vehicle failed in mid-flight after liftoff at 5:45 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time (7:45 p.m. PST/10:45 p.m. EST) today from the Pacific Missile Range Facility off Barking Sands, Kauai, Hawaii," the Air Force said in a brief statement on November 4.
Project officials wanted to build a new launcher that would provide a low-cost launch option for smaller satellites. The Super Strypi project was expected to cost about $15 million per mission and bring as much as 300 kilograms of load into orbit.
Currently US defense organizations, such as the US Army, the Air Force and the National Reconnaissance Office build heavy-lift rockets that cost billions of dollars.