Feeds

Comms sat launch goes off with a bang

Spectacular failure of Zenit rocket

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

The launch of a communications satellite from a converted oil rig in the Pacific ended in a fireball on Tuesday when the rocket exploded on the launch pad, New Scientist reports.

The launch explosion, captured in a Sea Launch videoThe Boeing-built commercial NSS-8 satellite - owned by SES New Skies of the Netherlands and "equipped with nearly 100 transponders for high-speed internet, broadcasting and other services" - was atop a Sea Launch-operated Zenit rocket. It was destroyed in the blast which engulfed the rig in flames (seen here in a still from a Sea Launch video).

The launch crew were unaffected by the explosion, since they wisely operate their vehicles from a remote, ship-based location.

Sea Launch has previously got 23 kerosene and liquid oxygen-fuelled Zenits off the ground, one of which quickly crashed in 2000 "after a valve problem in the rocket's second stage". Regarding the latest failure, the company said it would "establish a Failure Review Oversight Board to determine the root cause of this anomaly".

According to a report on Spaceflight Now, the Sea Launch live webcast of the fireworks featured the team announcer calling out "main engine start command" and then "go inertial". It elaborates: "But as the smoke and steam billowed from the Russian RD-171 engine firing to life, the rocket didn't begin its normal quick rise skyward. Instead, the three-stage rocket fell out of the camera view as the entire platform was enveloped in the explosion."

The satellite was, New Scientist adds, insured. SES New Skies said it was "not prepared to comment on potential causes of the mission's failure" pending the results of the investigation. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.