Feeds

Comms sat launch goes off with a bang

Spectacular failure of Zenit rocket

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.