Breaking news: Sealaunch rocket explodes on pad!

By Phil Plait | January 30, 2007 3:53 pm

Wow, this bites: a Sealaunch rocket that was supposed to carry a communication satellite into orbit blew up on the pad:

Read more about it on

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Pretty pictures, Science

Comments (13)

Links to this Post

  1. “VEHICLE HAS EXPLODED ON LAUNCH PAD” « Lahar | January 30, 2007
  1. Max Fagin

    NO! Not Sea Launch! I spent a day on that boat/launch pad, and I wanted to work there someday! This is awful!

  2. Michelle Rochon

    yowzah! That’s terribly sad for the people that worked hard here, must be devastating… but I’m a fan of explosions.

  3. Joe Rocket

    I have close ties to the EELV program and can tell you that eventually safety does play a major role in the success of these types of programs. I hope we as Americans can come to realize that the litttle bit of time spent on the specifics of what goes on to preparing these rockets will lead to mission success. Let’s see if the major corps will back out of this cheap access to space idea.

  4. Sigma_Orionis

    It’s a real shame, sadly, it shows that after almost 90 of Rocketry, launching a rocket is still an engineering feat.

  5. Sigma_Orionis

    It’s a real shame, sadly, it shows that after almost 90 years of Rocketry, launching a rocket is still an engineering feat.

    Sorry for the repeated reply, I had a slight mistake :)

  6. Was the launch site in shallow enough water to allow salvage and debris recovery to investigate the problem, or is this thing out in 5 km of open ocean?

    Hopefully this will convince them to put their pad in an obliging equatorial country that could use the development.

  7. Tom Hielscher

    According to my company’s offical web site; Sea Launch just experienced an anomaly during NSS-8 launch

    A Sea Launch Zenit-3SL vehicle, carrying the Boeing-built NSS-8 satellite, experienced an anomaly Tuesday during launch operations. There were no injuries involved in the failure and the satellite was insured.
    Three more launches scheduled for 2007 on Sea Launch will carry Boeing payloads: Thuraya D3, Spaceway F3 and DIRECTV 11.
    Sea Launch will establish a Failure Review Oversight Board to determine the root cause of this anomaly.
    Thats one spectacular anomaly!

  8. Melusine

    Bummer. Nobody enjoys seeing the payload go up in smoke.

  9. Am I the only one who watched the video, and had a moment of heartbreak when it was clear the launch was failing?

  10. James McEnanly

    I can only hope that there was no one was on the pad when the rocket exploded. It looks like it was a total loss.

  11. Dale

    Joe Rocket is off-base with the safety will play a major role, etc, major corporations will back off of this cheap access to space remarks. I, too, have has close ties to both Sea Launch and other launch and space efforts and I can say no other program has had the success of Sea Launch at any price. They have had 22 of 24 successes. EELV and its predecessor Delta program as well as Atlas, Titan, programs have had much higher catastrophic launch failures.

    No, it is hard for the EELV program to admit that they have to charge four times as much to launch a satellite than Sea Launch. Remember Sea Launch can put 14,000 pounds into Geo Sationary orbit. You don’t begin to do that until you get into the “Heavy” versions of the EELV.


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