25 Most Catastrophic Space Disasters in History
In an age where commercial space travel is nearly a realityand with movies like Hollywood blockbusterGravity setting records, humans are firmly set with our eyes on the skies. However, especially given recent launch failures, we are reminded of the danger of spaceflight. To date, 19 astronauts and cosmonauts have died during flight or flight training, most from the Cold War space race between the Soviet Union and United States. Despite these and other catastrophic space disasters, space development doesn’t look as though it’ll slow down anytime soon. On today’s list, we revisit the worst space disasters in history!
20. Titan I
15. Antares Rocket
The first of two space disasters within a week, private spaceflight company Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket experienced a “catastrophic anomaly”at the beginning of a supply mission to the International Space Station. The third of eight resupply missions of their $1.9 billion contract with NASA, the rocket (Antares) and spacecraft (Cygnus) were detonated within half minute of launching. The rocket’s first stage used 2 Aerojet AJ26 rocket engines, originally developed by the Soviets in the 1970’s to carry cosmonauts to the moon. The Soviets never successfully launched the rockets.
10. Yuri Gagarin
5. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two
On SpaceShipTwo’s 55th test flight, the craft separated as planned from its carrier, WhiteKnightTwo. The craftwas taking off from the Mojave Air and Spaceport the morning of October 31, 2014. Nine seconds into a textbook perfect flight, the craft’s twin tail booms (which act as a brakes on descent) unexpectedly deployed. The rocket continued to accelerate as planned and the combination of acceleration & drag from the boomsled to the craft breaking up over the Mojave Desert. One of two pilots, Peter Siebold, survived the crash while the other, Michael Alsbury, did not. The National Transportation & Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating the incident.