This film is pretty grainy but these tests date from the late 1950s to the 1960s, in the early days of manned/unmanned launch vehicles. At the time, these repeated explosions were viewed as being alternately embarrassing, hilarious, and spellbinding…I mean, these failures even looked spectacular.

I am sure the Soviet Union at the time had copious failures of their own (except we never heard about them, and the scores of dead people they probably had in orbit…but more on that at a later time). At least these were tests and not the real thing.

Emily Carney is a writer, space enthusiast, and creator of the This Space Available space blog, published since 2010. In January 2019, Emily’s This Space Available blog was incorporated into the National Space Society’s blog. The content of Emily’s blog can be accessed via the This Space Available blog category.

Note: The views expressed in This Space Available are those of the author and should not be considered as representing the positions or views of the National Space Society.

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