A few weeks back, a Russian rocket called “Proton-M” exploded over a spaceport in Kazakhstan a few seconds after it launched. 

The rocket was carrying three navigation satellites into space and fortunately was unmanned (no one on the ground was injured either). It reached a height of 1 km before disintegrating and then falling back to the Earth, piece by piece. 

An investigation into the who, what, and why behind this massive blast was launched and this past week, it was closed. The result? 

Human error. 

Investigators found that the rocket’s angular velocity sensors had been installed upside down. An easy mistake to make, one would suppose, except for the minor fact that they had arrows on them showing which way was up and which way was down. 

As a result of the misplacement of these sensors, the flight control system was getting the wrong information about the rocket’s position. When it tried to correct things, it swung out of control and exploded. 

See the videos and read the rest of the article here.


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