Traveling to space is one of the most exciting things to have happened in recent history. The fact that technology has been developed that makes space travel possible is amazing and beyond what many people ever thought would happen.
We are so fascinated with the idea of going to space that there are movies and documentaries about it. I don’t know many little kids that haven’t expressed the desire to be an astronaut when they grow up, at least once.
It’s mysterious and exciting to think about, and even more so to see. I remember watching shuttle launches on television as a child and I was always in pure awe seeing those brave men and women heading into the great unknown.
I can only imagine the excitement and nerves that must have been abundant when preparing for the first time we sent humans into space. The culmination of hours of calculations, precise procedures, and training that went into making sure everything could go off without a hitch.
It truly is amazing when it all works out like it is meant to. However, we all know that, unfortunately, sometimes it doesn’t. There have been many successful shuttle launches and missions to space, even moon landings, but there have also been disasters. This list contains 15 of the worst
1.Rapid Decompression Leads to Death
Long before the International Space Station was put into space, there was the first space station, Salyut 1. It was put into orbit on April 19, 1971.
After a number of unsuccessful attempts at boarding the station, it was now on Soyuz 11 to make another try. They were successful, and on June 7, 1971, they docked and the crew boarded the Salyut 1 successfully.
They encountered a few small problems, including a fire, but despite all that, they did get the majority of what they needed to get done completed. It was by all means, a successful mission.
On June 30, they prepared to go home. They fired their rockets off to begin the reentry protocol and all seemed well. The capsule returned to earth just fine, but upon opening it, they found the entire crew were deceased, the cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation due to rapid decompression. This was found to have been caused by a leaky ventilation valve.
These cosmonauts were the first people to ever die in space.
2.The Challenger Explosion
All eyes were on the Challenger launch on January 28, 1986. It was to be a huge day in history. It became one of the saddest.
A space shuttle launch is always very exciting, but this one was special. Christa McAuliffe was aboard the shuttle and was about to make history as the first teacher in space.
I was in third grade, and my teacher had set up a television in our classroom so we could witness this amazing event. I remember watching in awe as this pretty, brave lady was going up into space with trained astronauts. It was the moment I said to myself that I could do anything! She made me believe that the sky was literally the limit!
Then, the unthinkable happened.
There were concerns from some scientists at NASA about going through with the launch that day because it was unseasonably cold. Despite these qualms, the shuttle was cleared for takeoff.
73 seconds later, The Challenger exploded, killing all seven people aboard the ship. An O-ring seal that wasn’t meant for old weather is blamed for the horrific accident.
3.Space Shuttle Columbia
Another horrific accident that killed seven crew members was the Space Shuttle Columbia.
On this mission, the shuttle’s 28th, a piece of foam insulation broke off, and struck a wing of the orbiter allowing high temperature atmospheric gases to penetrate through the damaged area, which caused catastrophic damage within the wing. This then caused the entire shuttle to become unstable and it disintegrated as it entered back into the earth’s atmosphere.
It was determined that the damage could not have been fixed by the crew.
Being that this was the second huge disaster, killing so many, flights to space were suspended for two plus years while some much needed changes were made. The construction of the International Space Station was stalled, and many technical changes were made. They added an expansive on-orbit inspection so they could ascertain how well the thermal protection system had handled the ascent, and decided to have a designated rescue mission crew on standby in the case of irreparable damage.