The Nedelin catastrophe or Nedelin disaster was a launch pad accident that occurred on 24 October 1960, at Baikonur Cosmodrome during the development of the Soviet R-16 ICBM. As a prototype of the missile was being prepared for a test flight, it exploded on the launch pad when its second stage motors ignited prematurely, killing many military personnel, engineers, and technicians working on the project. The official death toll was 90, but estimates are as high as 200, with 120 being the generally accepted figure. Despite the magnitude of the disaster, news of it was covered up for many years by the Soviet government and did not emerge until the 1990s. Strategic Rocket Forces Marshal Mitrofan Nedelin, the commander of the R-16 development program, was among those killed in the explosion and fire.
Chief Marshal of Artillery Mitrofan NedelinDesigned by experienced rocket
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