When rockets go bad

Via Dick’s Rocket Dungeon via Rocket Jones. Dick has more takes and Jones has links to other rockets going boom.


  1. Here’s one that just blew. While all the engineers who know how to put hardware in space spin their wheels in the big aerospace companies, private space dicks around blowing stuff up. At least its their dollar. I wonder if any of them ever wondered why aerospace companies at the industry’s peak developed the safety and reliability engineering disciplines? Obviously not.

  2. Dfens: that video is of Sea Launch, a joint venture of Boeing, the Russian rocket manufacturer Energia and a couple other companies. I don’t see how you are differentiating between Sea Launch and ‘the big aerospace companies’, considering it’s made up of two of the largest such companies in the world.

  3. Good point. I thought it was like SpaceX or one of those. Thanks. Getting the Russians involved can create problems too, as they are finding out on space station. Of course, every Atlas has a Russian made first stage engine. Expendable rockets are really difficult to get good reliability out of in the best of circumstances because you never have a chance to work the bugs out. Also you’re continually fighting this mind set that it only has to work once, so who cares?

  4. For non-human spaceflight, there’s also the factor that it’s cheaper to lose a satellite occasionally than to spend all the money to make the launch vehicle perfect.

  5. Yes, but they’ve never really done a cost-benefit analysis on where best to spend the money to get the reliability up. You’d think with as much money at stake as there is, they would. When I was working on IUS, we’d spend a fortune weeding out every last single point failue in the avionics and yet the improvements were negligible. My time in the lauch biz was very disappointing. I can’t find any good videos of the SpaceX explosion. Only this one. I’m such a vulture, but Murdoc started it.

  6. Wow, here are some rocket related fireworks of another kind. A love triangle in the astronaut corps. Would it be a triangle if 2 of the three are married, but each to yet another spouse? A love pentagram or something? Most astronauts today aren’t worth spit. Add to that the fact NASA has become an asstronaut glorification society and you’ve got all the ingredients for today’s psycho-drama. And we have women astronauts now why? Oh yeah, it is so politically correct. Of course, if 2007 were anything like we thought it would be when I was a kid, we’d all be astronauts.

  7. For the record, I have no issues whatsoever with female astronauts. Also for the record, this story is sordid beyond what I’d think possible. Thanks for the pick-me-up feelgood story, Dfens. I knew I could count on you.

  8. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair, but this wouldn’t be the place. Too many good people might get hurt. I think these bozos start believing the PR within a very short period of time. Jerks.