A poster on the Space Hipsters group on Facebook (highly recommended and open to join; look ’em up) noted criminal proceedings for workers involved in the loss of a Proton rocket on December 5, 2010.
The rocket didn’t go all lawn-dart like a later Proton M, carrying a similar payload of GLONASS GPS satellites three years later…
Nope. That would be funny in hindsight (although always expensive and disappointing at the time, of course)
Nor did the rocket suffer any mechanical or software failure. While this rocket is grounded as of 2017 because the vehicle has some historic problems since its arrival, this 2010 rocket properly launched and executed every command it was given.
This Proton-M was simply overfueled, carrying at least a ton of extra propellant or oxidizer. So the upper stage with its payload didn’t quite reach a high enough orbit to perform a scheduled burn before it careened back to Earth.
Anatoly Zak at RussianSpaceWeb has a story that can stand by itself without my further blabbering. I’m just thinking, “What kind of derptitude is required to not know how much fuel is needed for a rocket?”
This story deserved a new category tag of its own. A part of me hopes I won’t find more stories like this, but then, that’s why I made the blog and Facebook group. There’s accident, tragedy, mistakes and perseverance.
And then there’s just great stupidity.