NASA launch of Antares ends in smoke and flames: rocket explodes after liftoff



Badass Dragons of the Wasteland - Round Nine Results

Well they probably have a backup supply of Space Food Sticks, but I still hope there’s a plan B.


Bugger. Unmanned, right?


Yes. NASA doesn’t currently have any manned launch vehicles.


For the sake of your faith in humanity, do not read the replies to @nasa on Twitter.

Come to think of it, don’t read any replies on Twitter.


Wow. I just clicked over to this a few minutes after the explosion and had no idea what was happening. I also saw it live. Bizarre. I just finished reading “The Martian” last night and the feature post at Boing Boing.
Space travel, dangerous.


It lifted off, then a few seconds later you can see one of the engines fail. Then it fell back onto the pad and exploded. Video here:


In the words of a classic, d’oh!

Hope they find out what went wrong. I cannot wait to read the investigation report.

Meanwhile, a book on the topic:
Space Systems Failures: Disasters and Rescues of Satellites, Rocket and Space Probes


Apart from the Shuttle and possibly Buran, anything which carries a crew either carries ejection seats or an escape tower [or a built-in escape system - forgot that] to get the fuck away from such an explosion.


Turns out it really IS rocket science. Getting stuff into orbit is HARD. Even when you think that you have the kinks worked out, we’re talking about 1000s of systems operating at the very limit of their capacity. You design a bridge, you make your best effort at estimating how strong each piece needs to be, and the double it for safety. If you did that with a spacecraft, you could never reach orbit. Going into orbit will NEVER be routine and boring like a plane to Europe, despite what they told us when they were building the space shuttle.


There is NO cannibalism in NASA. Absolutely none. And by none, I mean there is a certain amount, more than I would care to admit.


And this is an excellent reminder why. I’m glad they didn’t put any lives at undue risk for a supply run. It’s dangerous to strap yourself on top of a skyscraper-sized container of high explosives.


That really hurts. But it’s to be expected, right? The transition to private industry is going to take time… we’ll get there in the long run. It’s a shame, though, that we can come up with near-infinite war funding while NASA goes begging.

Can’t say I’m all that upset over whatever the NSA lost.


It’s rocket propellants, you insensitive clod. A totally different class of energetic materials. :stuck_out_tongue:


I call sabotage. CIA apparently thought the rocket was delivering supplies to the IS.

(too soon?)


Looks pretty exploded to me.


Wait. This thing uses surplus N1 engines? [To be precise, modified surplus N1F engines.]


It was more a massive deflagration than a true detonation. Fireball does not require a high explosive.

You may like to watch some storage-tank explosions, they are sweet. Or BLEVE (aka Blast Leveling Everything Very Effectively) ones. Ka-FWOOSH!!!

The kinds where you have a tank with burning oil/fuel and layer of water trapped underneath are quite spectacular. Once the water gets to boil, it ejects an aerosol of the oil upwards, and forms a beautiful fireball. That thing is big enough and hot enough that the radiated energy itself can cause burns in significant distance, like a smaller nuke.


That was anomalous as fuck!


It could be worse. It could be normal.