LAS CRUCES (AP) – Living near a missile testing range comes with its share of unexplained oddities.
For Las Cruces residents on Thursday, those included twisting, vertical contrails in the sky and a brief highway closure.
The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that the strange contrails above the Organ Mountains were left by a missile that was destroyed when a test flight went wrong at White Sands Missile Range.
WSMR officials say a Terrier-Black Brant suborbital sounding rocket was launched shortly before 1:30 that afternoon. Its flight trajectory went awry after liftoff, causing the Range Control Center to abort the flight and destroy the rocket.
WSMR spokeswoman Cammy Montory says the missile was brought down over the range. She says U.S. Highway 70 was briefly closed so officials could sweep for debris and was reopened by 1:45 p.m.