History’s most expensive mistakes

  • Nanfang’ao Bridge;

MAA Consultants designed the bridge, which was erected by Yilan County Government. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications commissioned the project, which began in 1996. It was finally opened to the public in 1998, and the management was handed over to the Keelung Port Bureau (now Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC)). The bridge was built to replace the previous lower bridge in the same area, allowing huge fishing vessels to pass beneath it.

The bridge collapsed at 09:30 on October 1, 2019, hurting more than 20 persons, many of whom were aboard fishing boats in the harbor below. An oil tanker truck was nearly across the bridge to the other side when the bridge collapsed, sending the truck plunging into the ocean and bursting into flames. Six persons were on the bridge at the time of the collapse. Three fishing boats were destroyed by the crumbling bridge, wounding and trapping a number of migrant workers who were on the vessels. 

  • Hubble Mirror Flaw


Operators noticed that the Hubble Space Telescope’s primary mirror had an aberration shortly after the telescope’s launch in 1990, affecting the sharpness of the telescope’s early photos.Hubble’s primary mirror was made in Danbury, Connecticut, by the Perkin-Elmer Corporation at the time. When Hubble started delivering images that were less clear than planned, NASA launched an inquiry to figure out what was wrong. The issue was eventually traced back to miscalibrated equipment used in the mirror’s production. In the grinding of the mirror, the outcome was a mirror with an aberration one-fifth the thickness of a human hair. Because replacing the mirror was not an option, the best option was to create new devices that corrected the fault in the same way that a pair of glasses corrects a near-sighted person’s eyesight. Spacewalking astronauts constructed and installed the corrective optics and new equipment on Hubble during a shuttle mission in 1993. The COSTAR (Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement) equipment, which was roughly the size of a telephone booth, installed five pairs of corrective mirrors in Hubble to counteract the flaw’s effects.


On August 8, 2010, bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik wrote the most understated remark since Apollo 13 warned Houston, “We’ve had a difficulty here.” It was, however, not without its share of farce. The government unintentionally emailed the possible participants before the auction but neglected to bcc them, allowing everyone who received the email to see who else had been emailed, resulting in their names being disclosed. The people whose emails were leaked as a result of the US government hack were targeted by scammers, one of whom succeeded spectacularly. An email purporting to be from a media company was received by Sam Lee of bitcoin fund Bitcoins Reserve. The accompanying document purportedly contained a list of interview questions but instead sent Lee to a website that required him to enter his password. When he did, the attacker gained control of his email and sent a message to the CTO seeking a 100-bitcoin transfer. Bitcoin, your time has come to an end.

  • Golden ray Wre

Golden Ray capsized at the Port of Brunswick’s port on September 8, 2019, shortly after unberthing and en route to the Port of Baltimore. The ship left Brunswick shortly after midnight and had barely been on the road for 23 minutes when it began to list. The port was forced to close due to the serious listing. Three engineers who were in the ship’s engine room at the time of the disaster were among the 23 crew members that survived, along with an American maritime pilot. The US Coast Guard launched a search and rescue campaign to locate four of the 23 crew members who had gone missing. Everyone was ultimately recovered and appeared to be in good health. The ship was carrying 4,200 brand new Kia and Hyundai cars, as well as cars from other manufacturers, for delivery to the Middle East. According to a story from Car and Driver, the ship was transporting roughly 4,300 Kia, Chevrolet, GMC, GM, Mercedes-Benz, and Ram vehicles at the time of its demise. At the time of the capsize, the ship was on its way to Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Ariane 5 flight 501

The Ariane 5 launcher’s first flight, on June 4, 1996, was a failure. The launcher swerved off its flight course, broke up, and exploded about 40 seconds after the flight sequence began, at an altitude of around 3700 m. Engineers from CNES and Industry’s Ariane 5 project teams began investigating the failure right away. The Director General of ESA and the Chairman of CNES established an impartial Inquiry Board in the days that followed.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments