Q: What leaves a crater 150-200 meters in size about 2.5 Kilometers from a launch pad?
A: One Russian Proton-M launch failure at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
This stunning failure occurred on July 3, 2013 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan. The Proton-M rocket was carrying three GLONASS navigation satellites. The rocket appears to have problems right as it takes to the sky, an emergency shutoff occurred approximately 17 seconds after launch.
An accident board led by Aleksander P. Lopatin, deputy head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, has been created to investigate the crash.
Roscosmos noted on its Facebook page,
“Taking into account the Proton-M rocket and three GLONASS satellites, the failed launch has potentially cost the Russian space industry around $200 million, reported Rossiya24 TV channel.”
This failure isn’t one of a kind, rocket failures and crashes show why investments in space technology are required to improve the current state of the art. While it may seem mundane to send rockets into space, it cost $10,000 to put a pound of payload in Earth orbit using an American space shuttle and it’s actually rocket science to do so. Fortunately, the payload on this mission was three satellites. Despite 135 flights, the United States space agency lost space shuttles Challenger and Columbia during manned missions. Commercial space company SpaceX has also had failures of its own and recently spectacularly recovered from an anomaly during launch of the CRS-2 mission on March 1, 2013.
Still didn’t get your disaster fix? Here’s another view of the unfortunate failure of the Proton-M.
Thanks to Rick Mann for the link to the first video.