1960s Soviet Rocket Engine Explodes in 2014

By Gary Cutlack on at

An unmanned privately-owned rocket bringing supplies to the ISS has exploded just after launch, which isn't a huge surprise given it was using rocket engines originally manufactured in the 1960s for the aborted Soviet moonshot programme.

The launch was taken out by an auto-destruct mechanism six seconds into its mission, after extreme problems were encountered with the launch by freelance rocket maker Orbital. Orbital sources its engines from the former Soviet Union, using refurbished power plants built in the late 60s or early 70s to take Soviets to the moon.

Orbital's VP Frank Culbertson said: "The asset stopped, there was some, let’s say, disassembly of the first stage, after which it fell to earth." [Orbital via Guardian]