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10 of the worst space disasters in history

Chris Hadfield said no astronaut climbs skyward on the launch day with his fingers crossed. They have dealt with the stress-induced stress by imagining that the launch fails a thousand times before the moment of truth arrives. When the perceived failure comes true, the result can resonate in the public mind around the world, and the effects are felt for decades. It can also attract little attention, even if the government fails to cover it up. The entries in this list were ordered based on the death toll and how avoidable the disaster was later. Before commenting on the comments, please note that the major Challenger disaster has been excluded from this list, as we have already discussed .

Our first entry was hoped to start this list with a lighter note in order to pave the way for more extreme cases …

0. Vanguard TV3

Victim: None

At the time of the launch of Vanguard TV3, the United States had deeply embarrassed for two months as if the Soviet Union's Sputnik were the first to orbit the Earth. The start of the American reply was thus brought forward from the spring of 1958 to the 6th of December, 1957. Not only was it watched by eager spectators by spectators in Cape Canaveral, Florida, but also broadcast live on television. So millions could see the shuttle fly about a meter into the air, explode and overturn.

It was perhaps the most embarrassing event in the history of space racing. The Soviet Union attached great importance to providing United States assistance through the United Nations. Still, it said something about the American spirit that Explorer 1 was successfully launched into orbit on January 31, 1958, less than two months later.

Preventability: The leading theory is that the explosion was caused by a fuel leak or insufficient fuel pump pressure. However, it is true that it is very likely that the rise of a groundbreaking spacecraft by months would increase the likelihood of inadequate security reviews.

. 9 Soyuz-1

Sacrifice: Colonel Vladimir Komarov

While Yuri Gagarin is the first human being to be celebrated in space, his friend is remembered that he was the first to return from outer space. On April 23, 1967, Komarov's Soyuz-1 ("Union-1") entered orbit and then began communication and power outages. These culminated in the parachutes that had failed to descend to ensure that Komarov would die in a small inferno. American espionage would hear that Komarov was receiving news from the Soviet Prime Minister with his wife and children, while the transcripts would call him "very angry" when he fell. The corpse left behind would be grotesquely charred, and yet he received a state funeral with an open casket as if to illustrate what the cost of failure could be for the cosmonauts of the Soviet Union.

Prevention: There is some debate about that. In the biography of Yuri Gagarin Starman by Jamie Doran and Piers Bronzy it was alleged that Gagarin and a team of engineers had inspected Soyuz-1 and found 203 structural errors which commended in an ignored memo that the start is delayed. NPR would later report that there were a number of critics who tried to expose the existence of the memo. If the memo was real, it seems to be a highly preventable tragedy.

. 8 Virgin Galactics SpaceShipTwo

Sacrifice: Michael Alsbury. (Peter Siebold injured.)

There are a considerable number of people who want to privatize space research and they believe that the entries on this list confirm this opinion. We offer you this sobering story.

On October 31, 2014, SpaceShipTwo's fourth test flight was conducted by Michael Alsbury, who flew him for previous tests, and his copilot Peter Siebold. Alsbury used the innovative rear system for the suborbital vehicle when it was at Mach. 8 (Mach 1 was sonic speed) instead of the required speed of Mach 1.4 was used. As a result, the stern was bent and the pilots lost control of the vehicle. Siebold only survived because he was able to deploy his parachute while ejecting his seat. The wreck was so violent that debris from SpaceShipTwo spread over five miles of the Mojave Desert.

Preventability: The National Transportation Safety Board investigated the accident and returned it nine months later to a combination of a copilot error and the lack of risk disclosure by Scaled Composites SpaceShipTwo built for Virgin Galactic. Scaled Composites knew about the danger of the tail system being initiated too soon. Apart from mentioning in an e-mail and a PowerPoint presentation, it had done nothing to inform Alsbury.

And as we'll see later, this was not the biggest catastrophe in the evolution of Virgin Galactic's space program, nor was it the first.

. 7 NASA 901

Victim: Elliot See, Charlie Bassett. (About a dozen others have been injured.)

Most disasters related to space exploration occur during takeoff or re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. He was much more worldly, but no less tragic. Astronauts Elliot See and Charlie Bassett flew to Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri on February 28, 1966 to launch Gemini IX. The mission was to fly to and attach to an unmanned Agena vehicle in Earth orbit, meaning the mission would provide America's third space runner. See and Bassett flew in T-38 Talon jets like their replacement astronauts Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford.

During the flight to Airbase, Sea made an unusual maneuver during its descent, keeping the backup pilots from descending and causing him to fly past his target. As he tried to correct, See hit his jet against the roof of the McDonnell Building 101. Both astronauts were killed, with debris from the roof squeezing about a dozen workers. So severe was the accident that Bassett's head was discovered later in the day in the rafters of the building. Nevertheless, the start of Gemini IX went according to plan.

Prevention: A NASA study hypothesized that the accident was largely due to pilot errors caused by bad weather. See had flown too deep because he wanted to keep the airfield visible on a misty day. It did not come to an absolute conclusion, since See had died before he could answer all inquiries.

. 6 The 2007 Scaled Composites Disaster

Victims: Todd Ivens, Eric Blackwell, Charles May. (Three others injured.)

Most victims of space disasters that the layman may call are astronauts. However, the engineers and maintenance personnel are also at high risk. On July 26, 2007, Scaled Composites engineers tested the SpaceShipTwo propulsion system at Kern County Mojave Airport, 150 miles outside of Los Angeles, California. A nitrous oxide tank exploded with a force comparable to a "five-hundred-pound bomb" and hit six workers with rubble. Three were killed, two on the spot

Prevention: The investigators rated it as very high, considering Scaled Composites had been found guilty of five security breaches. For example, the engineers performed the test so that they were no longer shielded from a potential explosion as a chain link fence. However, the relatively light fine was only about 25,000 US dollars. When the second SpaceShipTwo disaster broke out seven years later, Todd Ivens's sister Tara Ford said about Virgin Galactic's space program: "Do not let die!"

. 5 The Fire of Apollo 1

Victims: Gus Grissom, Ed White, Roger B. Chaffee

It should be a routine preflight test. The fuel tanks for Apollo 1, as placed on the Saturn 1B pad, were left empty on January 27, 1967. Then at 11:31 am a fire broke off in the command module. Later, one would find that what was so damaging to the three astronauts aboard was that the hatch of the command module they were in was opening inward. The air pressure inside the sudden rise in temperature and the release of gases was so high (more than 17 pounds per square inch) that it could not be opened until five minutes after the fire broke out, and the crew said in reports The shuttle was probably in the first Minute died by inhaling heat and smoke. The fire was so terrible that the bodies were removed only after seven and a half hours.

Prevention: The result of the 18-month investigation into the accident was that a short circuit had taken place in front of Gus Grissom's headquarters. NASA has taken extensive measures to ensure that this accident does not happen again. Of course, the hatches were redesigned to open outward, and all flammable components were replaced by fire suppressants.

. 4 Soyuz 11

Victims: Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, Victor Patsayev

The mission of Soyuz-11 was ready to be one of the great achievements of astronomical history. After docking with Salyut 1, the world's first space station, on June 7, 1971, their return on June 30 promised to set a new record for the longest time people had spent in orbit. When her capsule landed at exactly the intended location – apparently perfectly intact – it seemed certain that a hero was welcome. The Soyuz crew had become media favorites, and live footage of them on the space station became a television program. When the capsule was opened, the recovery team found that the three men were unconscious. Their bodies were still warm, so a revival was attempted, but it quickly turned out that they were dead for several minutes. For a while, speculation speculated that perhaps their death proved that there are no limits to how long people can survive in weightlessness. To date, the poor men are the only three who died in space.

Preventability: In the following analysis, Vasili Mishin, Chief Designer of Soyuz 11, noted that the capsule was decompressed by the loosening of the valve during the replacement of Salyut 1. The crew had died from suffocation and had been struggling for valves for less than a minute. It was pointed out that if the crew had been provided with space suits, the crew would almost certainly have survived.

. 3 Columbia STS-107

Victims: Rick Husband, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark, William McCool, Ilan Ramon

One of the most recent disasters on our list is the Columbia STS-107. and it was the result of something that sounds banal. During the launch of the Kennedy Space Center on January 16, 2003, a piece of foam weighing 1.67 pounds broke one of the fuel tanks and dropped to the left wing. This resulted in a discharge of extremely hot gases that further cut through the wing. The magnitude of the damage was unexpected until the completion of the mission's various scientific experiments and reentry on 1 February 2003. It was only a relief to know that the crew had lost consciousness after a few seconds. Preventability: NASA was unusually explicit in its 400-page report, released in December 2008 after more than five years of investigation: nothing could be done by the crew to save themselves as soon as possible the damage had occurred on the wing. " The demolition of the crew module and the subsequent exposure of the crew under hypersonic entry conditions could not be survived with any of the current capabilities." Despite NASA's attempts to repair the process, on July 15, 2009, the launch of the shuttle Endeavor was jeopardized by nearly a dozen pieces of foam falling on the underside of the shuttle, which meant the crew was retreating a dangerous fight approached the repetition of the fate of Columbia . The evidence suggests that this threat is very difficult to avoid.

. 2 Plesetsk Cosmodrome

Victims: 45 were killed instantly, five others died in rescue attempts

The Plesetsk Cosmodrome is located about 500 miles north of Moscow and is still the largest Russian spaceport in 1957, the first place was the Soviet Union [19659003] ICBMs placed. On March 19, 1980, the Wostok rocket was to be launched with the aim of bringing a spy satellite called Ikar into orbit. Instead, both the rocket and the entire launch pad were destroyed in a massive explosion that the Soviet newspaper Pravda wanted to cover by claiming to have been successful, and they did not report the truth 1989 .

Preventability: There was a debate over what exploded 300 tons of fuel. The government report said that this was caused by human error and that fuel could leak out, but the Russian television program Independent Investigation insisted during a broadcast in 2000 that it was a problem with the fuel filters , Regardless, Independent Investigation was adamant that " the safety of personnel was the least concern of (Plestek Cosmodrome)", and that in the next 20 years no attempt was made to modernize the facility that seems to be confirmed. Under such circumstances, it becomes very difficult to prevent such tragedies.

. 1 Intelsat-708

Victims: Officially injured six dead and 57 people. Maybe hundreds of anonymous civilians.

The role played by China in the space competition is still relatively small in the West. The destruction of this long March 3B missile near the city of Xichang and the Vietnam border on February 14, 1996 is one of the more prominent events, especially as there were American witnesses as security specialists Bruce Campbell (no, not but interviewed by Smithsonian.

The launch of the commercial satellite was launched at three o'clock in the morning, and the shuttle was in the air for about 20 seconds as it moved toward the accommodation facility These buildings were empty because all were watching the launch, but the explosion of the 426-ton rocket also brought numerous buildings into the area, destroying a local monument of ancient Chinese rocketry.

Preventability : The cause of the disaster should be a problem with the welding and flight control system (in an early official Beric ht was stated to be due to strong winds). The American contractors claimed that the security at the launch facility was lax. The only known company that was formally punished was the US satellite company Loral Space and Communications, which was fined US $ 14 million by the US government in 2002 because it had confidential information with the Chinese government had exchanged the nature of the problem.

The position of the Chinese government seemed to downplay the tragedy as much as possible. Campbell claimed that he later visited the village and found that there was not only evidence of an accident but of a village as well. In official statements, the government claimed that the village had been evacuated before take-off. However, this directly contradicted Campbell's reminder that many villagers had left the crash site and others who claimed to see corpse-filled pickup beds. If you actively try to forget the past, you can not avoid learning from it.

Dustin Koski is also the author of Not Meant to Know a dark fantasy novel about rogue exorcists.

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