July 26, 2005

Perhaps the greatest disaster in the history of rocketry occurred in 1960, at Baikonur Cosmodrome, during the test of a new ICBM, the R16, when the second stage accidentally ignited while sitting on the launch pad, rupturing the fuel tank of the 1st stage below it and causing a huge fireball that incinerated about 100 personnel who were on the launch pad. The Western world would not learn of this incident until James Oberg, an expert on the Soviet space program, pieced it together from various stories and rumors he heard coming out of the USSR in the early 80s. More here.
  • Freeow. Another great post.
  • In Soviet Russia, ICBM incinerates YOU!
  • Thanks.. that was interesting. I've always heard of the disaster but never saw a detailed account of it.
  • The launch pad doesn't strike me as a particularly great place to be at launch time.
  • You know it is a pretty good post when Wikipedia has nada on it.
  • Actually, I knew about the wikipedia link, and here it is. It is good info, but since it's too easy (boring?) to just do a wikipedia link I don't often do it.
  • Show off.
  • Congratulations to NASA on a Shuttle launch this morning. No dramatic explosions or anything. Come home safe!
  • Funny how the inquiry fingered the problem as being technological when it looks like it was dumb management that was largely to blame.
  • Very nice, another notch in the old gun, un-.