“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”– Neil Armstrong.
To date, human curiosity has led to a number of discoveries. Space missions are constantly at the top of the list among various categories of human interest. Successful missions are always the result of a series of failed attempts.
We constantly highlight the successful space missions while overlooking the failures. Before the eventual success, lives were lost and attempts were made. In our modern age, space missions actually signify far more than we usually understand. We’ve progressed in space exploration one tiny step at a time, but we’ve surely surpassed previous boundaries and beliefs. With new and improved technology, a whole new universe of potential for space discoveries and exploration has opened up.
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Some Failed Space Missions in the History
Space travel is a difficult endeavor. More than 160 launches have failed in the 52 years since the United States first attempted to reach there, including the Orbiting Carbon Observatory on February 24. Failed endeavors and their repercussions have a long and illustrious history. We’ve produced a list of some of the most heinous fails.
1. Columbia Disaster
On February 1, 2003, NASA disintegrated as it returned to Earth, killing all seven men on board. NASA put a two-year hold on space shuttle flights while it examined the cause of the Columbia catastrophe. A huge chunk of foam dropped from the shuttle’s exterior tank and pierced the spacecraft wing, according to an investigative board. After Challenger, the Columbia mission was the second space shuttle disaster.
2. Space shuttle Challenger
On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crew members and forever altering NASA’s space program. In April 1983, Challenger became the second space shuttle to reach orbit. According to CBS, the spacecraft spent a total of 62 days, 7 hours, 56 minutes, and 22 seconds in space. NASA identified flaws in engine #1, which were causing the leak, but engines #2 and #3 were OK. This was a tragic narrative about a botched space mission.
3. Soyuz 1
The Soviet Union was on the point of outshining the Americans when it launched its new Soyuz spacecraft on April 23, 1967, with the goal of ferrying cosmonauts to the moon. Komarov had significant issues with his craft’s attitude control system. Following that, the USSR said that Komarov had tragically perished on landing due to a parachute system malfunction.
4. ISS Expedition 36
Karen L. Nyberg was one of two women in space on June 16, 2013, the 50th anniversary of Vostok 6, the first space shot by a woman, Valentine Tereshkova. Water was constantly flowing into Luca Parmitano’s helmet, he said. The EVA was aborted immediately by flight controllers. After a 1-hour and 32-minute spacewalk, the airlock began to re-pressurize, and Parmitano was having trouble seeing, hearing, and speaking owing to the amount of water in his suit. Commander Pavel Vinogradov and crew mates promptly removed Parmitano’s helmet after re-pressurization and mopped off the water with towels. Parmitano was said to be unharmed and in high spirits despite the event.
Astronaut Norman Thagard was attempting to accomplish precisely that with a piece of fitness equipment for executing deep knee bends during a flight to the Mir-18 space station in 1995. While Thagard was working out, one of his straps snapped and flew upward, striking him in the eye. Thagard was in discomfort and had problems seeing light after the initial shock of the accident (something hard to avoid in outer space). Thagard’s eye began to heal after being prescribed steroid eye drops, which the space station apparently had on hand.
These tragic Space missions, thankfully, have left a legacy of safer space travel. However, we can’t help but think that some of the lessons learned from failed space missions, such as slowing down manufacturing and launch timelines when safety concerns surface, are being consciously ignored by certain companies today. Here’s to a bright future of safe and lucrative aeronautical travel, where passengers’ safety comes first.