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Today, September 23, 1983, a Russian Soyuz rocket exploded on the Launchpad while two cosmonauts were inside their spacecraft, specifically the Soyuz T-10-1, on top of that said rocket.

Remembering the explosion's 38th year, a Space.com report said, cosmonauts Vladimir Titov and Gennady Strekalov barely made it out alive.

The mission of Titov and Strekalov was intended for the launch of cosmonauts from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the space station Salyut 7.

Approximately 90 seconds before their rocket's supposed launch, there was an eruption of fire on the launchpad.

Fortunately, the emergency escape system ejected the cosmonauts' space capsule from atop the rocket, only two seconds before the explosion brought by the fire. This has, so far, been the only time that an emergency escape system needed to be used.

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Science Times - History in Space: September 26 Marks the 38th Year of a Russian Soyuz Rocket’s Escape from Explosion on the Launchpad
(Photo: NASA on Wikimedia Commons)
This picture shows the Soyuz T-10-1 spacecraft using the Launch Escape System to launch away from the exploding launch vehicle.

Emergency Escape Rocket

Russian Space Web report said, for decades, rockets have stayed the fastest, not to mention the most dangerous form of transportation invented by humans.

It's no longer surprising that engineers went to substantial lengths to create insurance policies in the event that something goes wrong while astronauts and cosmonauts are riding outside the atmosphere of Earth.

Unexpectedly, this space site also specified that the most practical way to escape from a failing rocket is to use another dedicated rocket.

Such an approach was used aboard numerous generations of spacecraft, including the Apollo, American Mercury, and the Russian Soyuz.

The latter-mentioned system had essentially got its chance of proving itself in real-life or actual emergency occurrences a lot of times.

Reliable Diagnostic Needed for Soyuz Spacecraft

To trigger the emergency escape system, there is a need for a reliable diagnostic for the Soyuz spacecraft, which would identify each possible failure aboard the launch vehicle.

At the time, many years of experience, specifically with the Vostok spacecraft and its rocket, provided engineers with a good idea that could potentially go wrong during launch.

In the early 1960s, KD Bushuev held a meeting with leading minds at OKB-1, including S.Kryukov, B. Chertok. E. Shabarov, V. Timchenko, and S. Okhapkin were finalizing a list of possible failures.

The said list includes loss of control which the gyroscope sensors can detect, booster stages' premature separation at Stage 1, the pressure loss in the combustion chambers, absence of velocity, and thrust loss detected by the occurrence of weightlessness onboard.

Escape from Explosion

The Soyuz-10-1 is the first crewed pad abort. According to an Astronautix.com report, the launch vehicle "blew up on the pad," and the crew was rescued by the launch escape tower that pulled away from their capsule at "20 G's."

Around one minute before takeoff, a fire broke out that caused the explosion at the Soyuz booster's base. Since Strekalov had flown in the past, he could determine if something was wrong through the sounds that came from the booster before it blew.

In response to what he was able to determine, he tightened his harness and told Titov to do as he did, in anticipation of the going off of the launch escape system.

A few seconds after, the Soyuz escape tower speeded up at 20 G's, taking the rocket from the pad to a safe distance.

This was the second attempt for a takeoff of Strekalov and Titov's crew to accomplish their mission of augmenting the solar arrays of the Salyut 7, as described in Space Facts.

In April, the cosmonauts were unsuccessful in docking aboard Soyuz T-8, and now, they were grounded for physical assessment following the high-G escape from the booster.

Such a mission would need to be accomplished by Aleksandrov and Lyakov's crew, who are already aboard the station, even though they had not undergone training, specifically for it.

Related information about the Soyuz rocket's escape from an explosion in 1983 is shown on Jacques Van Oene's YouTube video below:

 

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