Dumbest engineers of the year
A Proton-M rocket crashed headlong into the ground shortly after take off on July 2. According to independent website Russian Space Web, which has been monitoring Russian media since the crash, reports that crash investigators examining the wreckage had found the angular velocity sensors had been installed the wrong way up.
According to the website, the sensors are marked with an arrow which is supposed to point upwards. However, several sensors were found among the wreckage were found to be pointing the other way. It’s thought that the signals picked up by the wrongly installed sensors threw the rocket’s flight control system into disarray, causing the rocket to turn upside down shortly after take off, and crash roughly a kilometer from the launchpad…
The crash, which reportedly caused a crater up to 200 m (650 ft) across, posed a significant risk as it failed to clear the launch complex at Baikonur in Kazakhstan. However, no one was hurt as a result of the crash.
The question isn’t one of stupidity – but ignorance. Any number of engineering firms, research projects, realized long ago that the best way to prevent human error like this is to design every component so they only fit into place when installed correctly. Apparently no one notified the Russian Space Agency.