Software Failures: Ariane 5 Rocket Launch

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Ariane 5 Rocket Launch, 1996

On June 4th, 1996, the very first Ariane 5 rocket test flight launched. 37 seconds later, the rocket flipped 90 degrees in the wrong direction, and less than two seconds later, the boosters ripped apart. This caused the self-destruct mechanism to trigger, and the spacecraft was consumed in a fireball. The launch failure was due to a malfunction in the control software and is widely acknowledged as one of the most expensive software failures in history.

The launch cost nearly $370m, led to a public inquiry and delayed scientific research into the workings of the field for almost 4 years.

What caused the malfunction?

The Ariane 5 rocket reused working software from its predecessor, the Ariane 4. Unfortunately, the Ariane 5’s faster engines exploited a bug that was not found in previous models.

Importance of Technology Maintenance

The launch failure of the Ariane 5 is a prime example of why keeping your business technology updated and monitored is so important. Computer defects, human error, and organizational flaws all open your business up to risk.

Even something as simple as using an unsupported browser or not updating to the latest software version can have major implications.

With so many software systems, devices, and potential problems, we are here to be your partner. Give us a call today to start securing your business’s future.

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