Spaceflight Blunders & Greatness

The good, the bad, the ugly and the genius of spaceflight, old and new

What’s This?

Spaceflight Blunders & Greatness (SB) explores (in as much detail as non-engineer folks can do) the early engineering challenges that identified or misidentified issues that caused technical failures or issues, minor or major, manned or unmanned, in spaceflight history. These failures can result in “lessons learned,” evolutionary, and are often more subtle and lesser-known than spectacular.

A “blunder,” for this blog and Facebook group, include engineering accidents, both developmental and in-flight, crashes and explosions (naturally), one-off technologies that flew or reached live testing phase, disasters, and similar matters that are curiously off from the orderly procedures and techniques most of us envision in spaceflight. “Greatness” may be firsts, successes or post-event analysis, even if not fully made into reality, in spaceflight.

SB posts need not rehash the most infamous space disasters of the era, such as the Challenger, Columbia and Apollo 1 incidents. Rather, SB’s goal is to note the remarkably cool, the less-known, the nail-biting, “holy crap!” discoveries and problems that ended well, somewhat well, “turned out OK” or, yeah, just plain exploded. As well, the strange concepts of actual space technology developed but not flown that could’ve had all sorts of craziness or happiness (or explosions) if they really happened.

The Rules:

1) Be civil. Name-calling, slanderous and idiotic behavior will have you thrown into the airlock (banned).
2) Facebook users: Do not add members to the group there. Encourage others to join. This keeps you from mistakenly adding people who don’t want to be here.
3) Stay on-topic. Don’t make a post about blunders become a blunder itself. Such posts might be deleted or comments turned off.
4) Absolutely no posts allowed that discuss or imply any kind of conspiracies, “hidden facts,” UFOs, space fiction or fantasy talk, non-space talk, or futuristic technologies. SB is about historical events, not the future (it hasn’t blown up yet for discussion to occur).
5) Unless you make a VERY VERY clear connection in your post about religion and space history, do not Go There, for the purposes of civility. SB is not anti-religion, but its focus is not on the blunders of those who practice faith but the science of spaceflight.
6) The admins reserve the right to ignore these rules and ban anyone who’s just not being a nice or properly contributing member to the group.
7) If you don’t like things that blow up real good and want to criticize the money lost because of it, this group is not for you. We can talk about budgets, but no political discussions. If the subject is of current discussions, don’t do it.
8) Don’t sell or promote any service or product, nor post anything spammy or with questionable links. You’ll be blocked.
9) We don’t cite the mistakes or even tragedies here to condemn but to recognize the hard work, blood, sweat, tears, time and even lives that have been given for spaceflight. Any sarcasm and snark is done with respect to that–but frankly, blunders are sometimes funny.