Rocket - Safety, Reliability and Accidents

Safety, Reliability and Accidents

See also: List of spaceflight-related accidents and incidents

The reliability of rockets, as for all physical systems, is dependent on the quality of engineering design and construction.

Because of the enormous chemical energy in rocket propellants (greater energy by weight than explosives, but lower than gasoline), consequences of accidents can be severe. Most space missions have some issues. In 1986, following the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, American Physicist Richard Feynmann, having served on the Rogers Commission estimated that the chance of an unsafe condition for a launch of the Shuttle was very roughly 1%; more recently the historical per person-flight risk in orbital spaceflight has been calculated to be around 2% or 4%.

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