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What You Should Know About the Top Spaceflight Failures

Here’s what you need to know about the recent SpaceX explosion, and how it compares to other major spaceflight failures in recent history.

The more we fail, the more we learn how to succeed. This holds true for failures in technology. This ranges from the collapse of Gateway and Microsoft Vista at one end of the spectrum, to the major failures in spaceflight on the other end of the spectrum. These failures have led to many lost lives, many lost jobs, major technology setbacks, and billions of dollars in losses. While these types of failures are inevitable, hopefully further tests and precautions will help to make these major technological failures less frequent.

The SpaceX Explosion
At the beginning of September, SpaceX launched Falcon 9 as part of a trial run, and the rocket exploded. Until recently, the cause of the explosion was unknown. They now believe it was due to a helium system breach, but they are still looking into the matter. Luckily, no lives were lost due to the explosion. But the Falcon 9 incident is a major setback for SpaceX and even space travel. This isn’t SpaceX’s first Falcon 9 explosion, either; they had a rocket explode in 2015. These major SpaceX failures have not only cost the company an exorbitant amount of money, but time as well.

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Other Major Spaceflight Disasters
The Challenger space shuttle first launched in 1983, and completed many missions before the 1986 accident, where seven people lost their lives. The space shuttle didn’t technically explode: an issue with the fuel tank led to its failure, which caused the tank to release fuel that created a trailing fireball. One issue with this disaster is that it might have been avoidable if the shuttle had been launched during appropriate weather conditions.

The Columbia space shuttle had completed dozens of successful missions before its failure in 2003. As it was returning from a mission, the shuttle disintegrated, killing all seven people on board. The accident was caused by broken insulation during takeoff, which led to the damage of the shuttle. Oddly enough, some worms that were part of an experiment survived.