On March 18, 1980, a Soviet rocket exploded on the launchpad and killed 48 people. ‘On This Day in Space’ Video Series on Space.com
On March 18, 1980, a Vostok-2M rocket carrying a Tselina-D satellite exploded on the launchpad at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Soviet Union. The rocket was being fueled at Site 43 when it exploded, killing 44 people on the spot and injuring many others. The cause of the explosion was initially blamed on the crew, but a design flaw in the rocket’s fuel filters was later identified as the probable cause.
The disaster was covered up by the Soviet government and not reported in the media at the time, with official reports claiming the rocket launch was a success. The event was only declassified in 1989, bringing attention to the dangers and risks involved in space exploration and the importance of thorough investigations to prevent future incidents.