BIG badaboom!

It seems a Russian Proton-M rocket carrying three Glonass navigation system satellites suffered a catastrophic failure immediately after launch last year in Kazakhstan.  The resulting explosion, shown below from several miles away, was . . . impressive, to say the least.

I hope all that flying glass didn’t hurt anyone!

Here are two more views of the same explosion, from a nearby road and from launch pad cameras.

I’m glad I wasn’t near that one . . . and very glad it missed the residential area in which the first video was filmed.  I’d imagine that explosion was big enough to wipe out most of a typical town.

(A tip o’ the hat to Foxtrot Alpha for the links to the videos.)



  1. Several of the accelerometers in that one were installed upside down, so the guidance system went all wonky trying to control it.

  2. I counted ten seconds from biggest flash to glass breaking. Anyone know how fast the shock wave was going?

  3. The decision to switch to Kerbal Engineering for guidance systems, in retrospect, was not as much of a cost saving measure as it first appeared.

  4. interesting… range safety asleep at the wheel on this one. I watched a T-IV do something similar when some wires shorted out and reset the navigation system to sea level.. problem is T-IV was a ways up there. So US Space Command put the satellite into a 'sub-sea level' orbit *grins*

  5. Russian launch vehicles don't have a destruct package on them. Since all their launch facilities are located in isolated places, with even less "stuff" downrange, if there's a major problem with one of their vehicles, the "range safety" function is accomplished by simply shutting down the engine, and letting the launch vehicle fall back to Earth.

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