The United States has suffered many failures during its attempts to launch rockets with some rather spectacular explosions being the result. Here we see the 2 March 1965 failure of the R&D Atlas-Centaur 5 rocket configuration as it underwent a launch attempt at pad LC-36A. One second after lift-off the Atlas's fuel pre-valves accidentally closed causing loss of thrust. The rocket dropped back to the pad, split apart releasing its full load of fuel, and caused the largest pad explosion in the history of Cape Canaveral.
Similar Atlas boosters were used by the Air Force in the form of ICBM's with nuclear warheads, and by NASA to launch American astronauts into space during the Mercury program, thankfully no such failures occurred during the manned launches.
WDTVLIVE42 - Transport, technology, and general interest movies from the past - newsreels, documentaries & publicity films from my archives.