On this day: July 3

POSTED: 02:23 PM PDT Jun 27, 2012    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PDT Jul 02, 2014 

A major Civil War battle ends, America gains a new state, Jim Morrison overdoses, and summer blockbusters dominate theaters, all on this day.

July 3 OTD - N1 rocket
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1969: The biggest explosion in the history of rocketry occurs when the Soviet N-1 rocket (similar to the one seen here on its way to the launch tower) explodes and subsequently destroys its launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The rocket had been intended to launch a probe on an oribit and flyby of the moon to photograph possible manned landing sites, but the explosion delayed launches for 18 months while the launchpad was rebuilt.

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