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Originally posted by davesidious
reply to post by poet1b
The experts don't agree with you.
That is not the case for all rockets experiencing all kinds of leaks, as no one has tested every single case. Physics and chemistry don't demand that every single rocket failure has to be catastrophic, although it is likely that any failure will be catastrophic (but not certain).
In the Southeast United States, depending on a viewer's distance from Cape Canaveral, the "stack" (shuttle orbiter, external tank and solid rocket boosters) can be easily followed thanks to the fiery output of the solid rocket boosters. The brilliant light emitted by the two solid rocket boosters will be visible for the first 2 minutes and 4 seconds of the launch out to a radius of some 520 statute miles from the Kennedy Space Center.
After the solid rocket boosters are jettisoned, Discovery will be visible for most locations by virtue of the light emanating from its three main engines. It should appear as a very bright, pulsating, fast-moving star, shining with a yellowish-orange glow. Based on previous night missions, the brightness should be at least equal to magnitude -2; rivaling Sirius, the brightest star in brilliance. Observers who train binoculars on the shuttle should be able to see its tiny V-shaped contrail.
The lighting conditions, and therefore launch visibility, can be different for the same launch from different locations. For example, if a missile lifts-off from Vandenberg AFB in the late afternoon, the Sun is above the horizon in California, limiting the launch's visibility for observers on the West Coast. However, for observers further east, the Sun is below the horizon and they may enjoy an impressive twilight display.
Kommersant said the reported test-firing before dawn on Wednesday morning coincided with the appearance of an extraordinary light over northern Norway that captivated observers. Images of the white light that appeared in the sky above the Norwegian city of Tromso prompted explanations ranging from a meteor, northern lights, a failed missile or even a UFO.
The source said that the reason for the failure of [the launch] of the Bulava missile was a break-down in the operation of the solid-fuel engine of the third stage. It is possible that a burn-through occurred in the engine's wall, which led to a change in the trajectory of the missile's flight and its self-destruction.
It has three stages. Its length in launch container is 12.1 meters and maximum diameter is 2 meters. It is equipped with solid fuel cruise engines of the 1st and 2nd stages. The third stage is equipped with a liquid propellant engine, to ensure the necessary speed and maneuverability at the final stretch of the trajectory.