Space Launch Disaster: When Liftoff Goes Wrong

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What happens when something goes wrong on the launchpad? Launching a craft into space is the most dangerous phase of a spaceflight because thousands of gallons of explosive fuel fill the rocket. The vehicle and its astronauts face being destroyed in a gigantic explosion if anything goes wrong on the launchpad or during the launch. Michael D. Cole explains the dangers involved in launching spacecraft. He describes actual mishaps, detailing the event and the people involved, including the Challenger explosion and the Apollo 1 fire.

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Dangerous Steps into Space
The Apollo 1 Fire
Apollo 12

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About the author (2000)

Cole graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1986 with a degree in Natural Sciences. He obtained a Ph.D. in Natural Product Chemistry from the University of London in 1990. In 1990, he joined the staff of the Forensic Science Unit at the University of Strathclyde as a short-course tutor, from where he progressed to Director of the Unit in 2000. In 2001, Michael was appointed Professor of Forensic Science at Anglia Polytechnic University, Cambridge, where he now heads the Department of Forensic Science and Chemistry.

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