Yet; some are worse than others, and we have to keep things in perspective. I would submit that the January 17, 1997, launch of the Delta II rocket carrying a GPS satellite was one of the worst launches ever.


As the rocket rose 1,500 feet above the ground, things went bad.

The Air Force announcer gets the Understatement of the Year Award for declaring this gigantic fireball “an anomaly,” and later stating that “a major problem has occurred.”

Over 20 cars were melted, tons of flaming debris rained down from the sky, and poison gas clouds covered the launch area. The clouds of gas shown after the explosion were hydrochloric acid, and residents in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and other towns miles away were ordered to stay inside, close all doors and windows and turn off all air conditioners. The concussion from the blast set off car alarms 20 miles away.

Amazingly, no one was killed or seriously injured in this incident. Now THAT was a bad launch!