File this one under Exploding Telephony. Spaceflight Now is reporting that a Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket disintegrated in a spectacular explosion aboard its launch platform in the Pacific ocean Tuesday, completely destroying its telecommunications satellite payload.
Ruined in the explosion was the NSS 8 spacecraft belonging to operator SES NEW SKIES of The Hague, Netherlands. The 13,050-pound satellite featured 56 C-band and 36 Ku-band transponders for commercial and governmental communications, high-speed Internet services and video broadcasting.
NSS 8 was slated to fly in geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the Indian Ocean at the 57-degree East longitude slot. The satellite’s coverage zone would have included two-thirds of the world’s population from the vantage point, with reach to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Asia.
Thankfully none of the people involved in the launch were harmed, as they watched the explosion from a ship three miles away from the launch pad. If you like to see things blow up, you’ll definitely want to watch the video of this on YouTube, it’s a serious explosion.