There was a stationary engine test and they had GoPro cameras placed all around the engine. There was more vibration than expected and one camera came loose, fell down alonside the engine into the flame, hit the deflector chute and flew WAY out into the water used to cool the chute.
The found it later, the case melted but got the SD card out. The camera filmed the entire trip and quit when it ran out of SD.
I don't remember who's test that was, but the video in slow motion was quite interesting.
One of the last ones was at Vandenberg AFB, CA in December 1981. I was the Safety Launch Controller for that bird. If you look at the picture, there is a small boxlike object in the middle foreground. That is me, standing on top of a van, watching the missile come DIRECTLY TOWARDS ME. Only though was "that's a heck of a last sight!". It hit a small brush patch with one fin, and (obviously ??) didn't make it to me. SEVERAL changes of underwear were required. At my retirement a few years later I received a gift from the Photo Squadron that ran the big cameras. (they are WAY behind me) It was a photo montage of the launch/crash, the final shot being simply a dark round dot surrounded by flame, as it came my way! (it crashes only 700 yards away). Most of my crew lost a lot of hair that night, as the edges of the fireball reached us for a millisecond or so.
The launch was nicknamed; "Going to Heaven, with NAVSTAR 7" WAY too close a choice of names! LOL
The failure of the Atlas 76E/Navstar 7 launch in December 1981. (credit:USAF)
Last edited by paulandreasen; 01-22-2020 at 03:47 PM. Reason: Pell Specker failure!
I've had a much smaller sounding rocket require a single underwear change when the second stage delayed in starting just long enough for it to tip in our direction. One guy filming got the "pleasure" of seeing it tipping directly towards him before it lit and went off to a "safe" crash.
I tried to get a copy of his film, but no-go.
There's also this picture from a fireworks show that I had the "pleasure" of taking. I was on a break, otherwise I would have been up there with the others. One guy admitted to flinching slightly.
Since it's fireworks I guess I should mention we were all legally licensed to build and shoot explosives and the site was approved by everyone and their grandmothers.
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