Yesterday in Space History

Ever suddenly realize you don’t know what day it is? Me, too.

I have a wide range of excuses as to why I didn’t post this yesterday–good excuses, too, I assure you–but rather than enumerate them I’ll just post it now.

Fifty (50!) years ago yesterday the U.S. launched Explorer 5 from the Eastern Space & Missile Center. Or, rather, attempted to launch. It didn’t achieve orbit because parts of the rocket and the spacecraft collided in flight.

Why is that significant? Not just because it was a half-century ago, but because it’s so similar to the failure that hit the Falcon-1 program earlier this month. That launch, back on August 2nd, failed because the first and second stages collided in flight.

Spaceflight, contrary to our best wishes, is still hard.

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