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Spaceflight-related accidents and incidents

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  • Gregory Bruce Jarvis (1944 - 1986)
    Gregory Bruce Jarvis (August 24, 1944 – January 28, 1986) was an American engineer who died during the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger on mission STS-51-L, where he was serving as Payload...
  • Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov (1927 - 1967)
    Vladimir Mikhaylovich Komarov (Russian: Влади́мир Миха́йлович Комаро́в , IPA: [vl%C9%90%CB%88d%CA%B2im%CA%B2%C9%AAr mʲɪˈxaɪləvʲɪtɕ kəmɐˈrof]; 16 March 1927 – 24 April 1967) was a Soviet test pilot, a...

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Verifiable spaceflight-related accidents and incidents resulting in human fatality or near-fatality during flight or training for crewed space missions, and testing, assembly, preparation or flight of crewed and robotic spacecraft. May also add those who died who were associated with intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.

DO NOT include accidents or incidents associated with fatality or injury to test animals, uncrewed space flights not resulting in human fatality or serious injury, or Soviet or German rocket-powered aircraft projects of World War II. Also DO NOT include alleged unreported Soviet space accidents, which are considered fringe theories by a majority of historians.

As of 2020, there have been 15 astronaut and 4 cosmonaut fatalities during spaceflight. Astronauts have also died while training for space missions, such as the Apollo 1 launch pad fire which killed an entire crew of three. There have also been some non-astronaut fatalities during spaceflight-related activities. As of 2020, there have been 30 fatalities in incidents regarding spaceflight.

Astronauts/Cosmonauts during spaceflight

As of August 2020, in-flight accidents have killed 15 astronauts and 4 cosmonauts, in five separate incidents. Three of them had flown above the Kármán line (edge of space), and one was intended to do so. In each case, the entire crew was killed. The current statistical fatality rate is 3.2 percent.

NASA astronauts who died on duty are memorialized at the Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Merritt Island, Florida. Cosmonauts who died on duty under the Soviet Union were generally honored by burial at the Kremlin Wall Necropolis in Moscow. No Soviet or Russian cosmonauts have died during spaceflight since 1971.

  • Viadimir Komarov died 24 Apr 1967 – parachute failure (Soyuz 1)
  • Michael J Adams died 15 Nov 1967 – control failure (Wikipedia - Michael J Adams)
  • Georgy Dobrovoisky died 30 Jun 1971 – decompression in space (Soyuz 11) (Wikipedia - Georgy Dobrovolsky)
  • Viktor Patsayev died 30 Jun 1971 – decompression in space (Soyuz 11) (Prabook - Viktor Ivanovich Patsayev)
  • Viadislav Volkov died 30 Jun 1971 – decompression in space (Soyuz 11)
  • Gregory Jarvis died 28 Jan 1986 – launch booster failure (Space Shuttle Challenger)
  • Sharon Christa McAuliffe (Corrigan) died 28 Jan 1986 – launch booster failure (Space Shuttle Challenger)
  • Ronald McNair died 28 Jan 1986 – launch booster failure (Space Shuttle Challenger)
  • Ellison Onizuka died 28 Jan 1986 – launch booster failure (Space Shuttle Challenger)
  • Dr. Judith Arlene Oldak (Resnik) died 28 Jan 1986 – launch booster failure (Space Shuttle Challenger)
  • Cmdr Michael J Smith died 28 Jan 1986 – launch booster failure (Space Shuttle Challenger)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Francis Richard "Dick" Scobee died 28 Jan 1986 – launch booster failure (Space Shuttle Challenger)
  • Rick D Husband died 1 Feb 2003 – vehicle disintegration on re-entry (Space Shuttle Columbia)
  • William C McCool died 1 Feb 2003 – vehicle disintegration on re-entry (Space Shuttle Columbia)
  • Michael P Anderson died 1 Feb 2003 – vehicle disintegration on re-entry (Space Shuttle Columbia)
  • David M Brown died 1 Feb 2003 – vehicle disintegration on re-entry (Space Shuttle Columbia)
  • Kalpana Chawla died 1 Feb 2003 – vehicle disintegration on re-entry (Space Shuttle Columbia)
  • Laurel Clark died 1 Feb 2003 – vehicle disintegration on re-entry (Space Shuttle Columbia)
  • Ilan Ramon (Wolfermann) died 1 Feb 2003 – vehicle disintegration on re-entry (Space Shuttle Columbia)

During training or testing:

Fatalities caused by rocket explosions

  • Wikipedia – List of spaceflight-related accidents and incidents)
    • This list excludes deaths caused by military operations, either by deliberate detonations, or accidental during production - for example German V-2 rockets reportedly caused on average an estimated 6 deaths per operational rocket just during its production stages.

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