Everybody was dressed in his or her best clothes.
January 24, 2013 10:24 AM   Subscribe

in February, 1996, a rocket launch at Xichang failed. Smithsonian Air & Space publishes first-hand account. Xichang Satellite Launch Center at Wikipedia. Previously (comprehensive, highly reccommended).
posted by mwhybark (7 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
One of the people standing on the roof of the satellite processing building captured the accident on video, even though he was thrown off his feet by the blast wave (the video can still be seen on YouTube).

Here is the short YouTube video of the accident referred to in the quote from the article above.
posted by fairmettle at 10:47 AM on January 24, 2013

Clicking through the related youtube links, it turns out that American rockets occasionally also fail spectacularly, but the results look very different.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:05 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

For some perspective, imagine an eighteen-story building flying horizontally about a hundred feet of the ground before smashing into a hillside.

(An eighteen story building loaded with propellant and oxidizer, that is.)
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 11:22 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

They were having a bad problem, and would not be going to space that day.
posted by sourcequench at 11:55 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could not get the military.com video to load, but this appears to be largely the same material [yt]. I've seen it many times and wasn't able to place the video in full context, but with this information I think the Google Map location is here. I'm assuming that they were riding a bus along this road from NW to SE and this map zooms in very approximately on what looks like the base gate.

Much of the burned village, as Zak implies, appears to be simply farmland now.
posted by dhartung at 12:29 PM on January 24, 2013

With melting wax and loosened strings
Sunk hapless Icarus on unfaithful wings;
Headlong he rushed through the affrighted air,
With limbs distorted and dishevelled hair;
His scattered plumage danced upon the wave,
And sorrowing Nereids decked his watery grave;
O'er his pale corse their pearly sea-flowers shed,
And strewed with crimson moss his marble bed;
Struck in their coral towers the passing bell,
And wide in ocean tolled his echoing knell.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:29 PM on January 24, 2013

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