Software Gone Awry

Investigators appointed by the European Space Agency reported in July that a software bug brought down the new $8-billion Ariane 5 rocket, which exploded in June and was supposed to have a major role as a platform for space exploration. The team found that an unused, unnecessary routine in the software controlling the rocket's engines was ultimately responsible for the crash. Apparently, further testing of this guidance software might have caught the glitch. (See September 1994, page 86.)


--Kristin Leutwyler and Gunjan Sinha