Watch this Russian rocket crash just after launch

A Russian Proton-M rocket. Image: Wikipedia. [AP Video Link] At the Baikonur Cosmodrome today, a Russian Proton-M rocket crashed shortly after takeoff. The rocket was hauling three GLONASS navigation satellites for a navigation system that Russia is in the process of building. Here’s the official statement from KazCosmos, the National Space Agency of the Republic… READ THE REST

“In Russia, rocket ______ you.”


Now that is a nonchalant announcer.

Couldn’t catch the start of that but the rest goes “Something doesn’t seem right. Seems like it’s going to be a catastrophe. And there goes the rocket plummeting to earth and breaking up in mid air. And it’s exploded” in the calmest voice ever.


Looks like someone needed some more time with Kerbal Space Program before attempting the real thing.

Strange that these rockets either didn’t have or didn’t use a fail safe auto destruct system. They just let it do its thing.

The folks downwind of Vandenberg experienced this in 1986 with a Titan 34D

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Yikes! One of my old school internet friends is working as a translator out at Baikonur right now - he apparently snapped some fantastic video from where the staff gets to watch the launch and is waiting for some steady internet to upload it. He said it blew out the windows locally and the current theory is engine trouble.


Haven’t you watched a few Russian dashcam vids?

I don’t speak Russian, but I’ve heard what seems like some pretty damn nonchalant-sounding… not exclamations, but more commentary on the various calamities unfolding in view… as if to say, ‘oh dear, this is unfortunate’, or maybe ‘oh, bugger’ when most of us would go for a screaming FUCK MEEE…


LOL. Engine trouble, huh?

That’s a pretty clever theory, given the whole damn thing is basically an engine bolted to a fuel tank ; )

BTW, the guy working that camera isn’t even a cameraman’s arsehole.

He should have started zooming out at the first sign of trouble; pretty woeful IMO.

Yeah - I was wondering that myself… Is that no longer a thing with commercial rockets? I remember all the old space program footage - as soon as that thing overcorrected & started to go sideways, it would’ve been blown, but this thing just “gracefully” turned over and augered in…

The orange stuff is REALLY nasty:


For the first 47 (? or something?) seconds the self destruct mechanisms are not activated in order to not damage the launch complex in the event of a failure. The destruction of a rocket releases an enormous amount of energy, even when using a self destruct mechanism, so using the self destruct mechanism near the ground will result in a lot of damage. Also, some of the rockets self destruct by turning, the rocket will disintegrate because it cannot handle the drag forces when it is flying sideways.


If you pause the bottom video at the 16 second mark you will see a brown stream. And if you pause it again at 27 seconds you will see that the brown stream is released at an angle compared to the engine exhausts (which might explain why it wasn’t igniting in the earlier part). Based on this image I would say that it looks like some part of the radial outboard mounted pump assembly ruptured on one of the engines.


Russian rockets don’t have destruct systems like western rockets. However, they usually have a mechanism to shut off the engines if they go off course. I didn’t see that here. The engines were until the rocket started to disintegrate.


yeah but at least it ignites the moment it comes in to contact with air. So it’s not likely to be found after the explosion.

The byproducts of the reaction are still probably the nastiest shit you can find.

hahaha! exactly my thoughts. Hm, seems he didnt put enough struts between those tricouplers, hmm… jebediah is dissapointed.

Are you talking about the exhaust plumes or the nozzles? I can’t be bothered to watch that again.

My thinking goes like this: we’re seeing a jet of non-reacted oxidizer at a fairly steady rate of flow just prior to the roll-over. We aren’t seeing any odd flames following the bad engine, so there can’t be any fuel reaching the combustion chamber or otherwise exiting the rocket body. That would mean that the fuel was commanded off or the flow is being stopped at the tank, the pump, or somewhere pre-chamber in an uncontrolled way. Presumably the flight computer won’t allow either fuel or oxidizer into the chamber unless both lines are at pressure.

Because we see oxidizer, was it being released by command or by failure? How long would the system wait before cutting the feeds once it notices the failure to light? Does it have a “no matter what, run for 5 seconds and then start checking things” sequence?

That was an awesome spin, BTW.

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Haha, engine trouble was his simplified explanation for my non-technical self. The exact flavor of engine trouble is still up for debate I guess.

Jeez, at 0:25 it looks like a giant alien squid.