A space mission is an intense and complex task. Different expertise people in different fields work together to develop a space machine so that it will function as per expectations. In a flight with a greater speed of light, zero gravity such situations are very much inclined to errors. Space missions that failed are either due to human or technical errors. Spaceflights require very careful calculations and obvious actions when the situation becomes worse.
Here are three space accidents that took lives also
Soyuz 1: Parachute Error
Vladimir Komarov was in Soviet Russia’s first group selected to go for space travel. He was the first person to enter outer space twice, unluckily the second time was his last. Soyuz 1 aimed to reach the moon, Komarov faces issues with the structure of his spacecraft that eventually led to his death. Soyuz 1 was planned to orbit Earth and then meet with Soyuz 2. When Komarov was in orbit around the earth, the turn of Soyuz 2 was to get launched and meet him.
But Soyuz 2 was stopped as issues were faced with Komarov’s Spacecraft. Misson control figured that one of the solar panels Soyuz 1 not deployed and limiting the power supply to spacecraft. Equipment in connection with that solar panel was damaged as they do not receive enough power. Soyuz 1 mission was stopped and Komarov started his return journey to earth. Earth’s atmosphere was successfully passed by the spacecraft after a few difficulties but when parachutes of Soyuz were opened they didn’t unfold correctly. Due to parachute error spacecraft, Soyuz 1 crashed into Earth on April 24, 1967, and Vladimir Komarov lost his life. The space mission ended in a disaster.
Komarov was the first person who lost his life in a space mission and after his death, he has been honored with monuments and memorials near the place where he crashed.
STS-51-L: Shuttle break apart
STS-51L Crew (l-r): Payload Specialists Christa McAuliffe and Gregory B. Jarvis, Mission Specialist Judith A. Resnik, Commander Francis R. Scobee, Mission Specialist Ronald E. McNair, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialist Ellison S. Onizuka.(credits: NASA)
STS-51-L disaster was something indicatory. As this space mission was delayed much time. It was scheduled for 3:43 p.m. EST, Jan 22, 1986, but finally set to launch Jan. 28, 1986, due to technical errors and bad weather. Even delayed for two hours when a hardware interface module in the launch processing system, failed during liquid hydrogen tanking procedures.
After a few minutes of its launch, a defect occurred in the spacecraft’s O-rings—rubber seals which resulted in the separation of rocket boosters. This also causes a fire to start which then destabilizes the boosters. The flight at that time moved faster than the speed of sound and it got broken down into pieces. Due to the explosion all astronauts on board, including civilian Christa McAuliffe, who has to teach classes and perform experiments while in space lost their lives
This mission was planned to deploy satellites and testing tools for studying the astronomy Halley’s comet. The launch was made at −3 °C and the engineering team conveyed that O-rings were prone to damage in such low temperatures but NASA did not want to delay the mission anymore. The flight launch was not live telecasted but explosions and shuttle pieces were visible from the ground. Rogers Commission was created to figure out the reason and fault of this accident.
STS-107: Columbia disaster
Columbia made its first shuttle program flight into space in 1981 while it lifted its 28th mission named STS-107, on January 16, 2003. This space mission was planned for different experiments that required a microgravity environment. The crew includes commander Rick Husband, pilot William McCool, mission specialists Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, and Laurel Clark, and payload specialist Ilan Ramon who was the first Israeli astronaut.
When Columbia was at 60 km altitude and entering earth’s atmosphere at around 9:00 AM EST, it gets disintegrated and its debris showered in southeastern Texas and southern Louisiana. The explosion was recorded in television cameras and U.S. Air Force radar.
The cause was launch-related as happened in STS-51-L: Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster mentioned above. It has been found that a piece of insulating foam from an external propellant tank hit the upper edge of the left wing after 81 seconds of its launch. In earlier missions, such situations did not cause any mishappening but here when Columbia reentered the earth’s atmosphere hot atmospheric gases penetrated the damaged section and disintegrated some major parts of wings.
Data showed the increase in temperature within the section of left-wing around 8:52 AM, but the crew might come to know it just before one minute of explosion.
Columbia’s major parts and crew remains were found in a month. The main experiment of the mission to study the effect of weightlessness on the physiology of worms was found in the remains of Columbia. Worms in Petri dishes were alive even after the explosion showed crew efforts and dedication. Although these space missions almost reached their aim but lives that are lost made this space mission fail and a big disaster.
hence these were some of the space missions that failed and this was all about the post.