30 Jun '16, 5pm

Fail Of The Week (in 1996): The 7 Billion Dollar Overflow

The year was 1996, the European Space agency was poised for commercial supremacy in space. Their new Ariane 5 Rocket could launch two three-ton satellites into space. It had more power than anything that had come before. The rocket rose up towards the heavens on a pillar of flame, carrying four very expensive and very uninsured satellites. Thirty-seven seconds later it self destructed. Seven billion dollars of RUD rained down on the local beaches near the Guiana Space Centre in Southern South America. A video of the failed launch is after the break. The cause of all this was a single improper type cast in a bit of code that wasn’t even supposed to run during the actual launch. Talk about a fail. There were two bits of code. One that measured the sideways velocity, and one that used it in the guidance system. The measurement side used a 64 bit variable, but the guidance sid...

Full article: http://hackaday.com/2016/06/30/fail-of-the-week-in-1996-t...

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