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The Ariane 5 Rocket, 1996

In 1996 an Ariane 5 rocket exploded forty seconds after lift-off. The project had taken 10 years, and cost $500 million. This spectacular software failure was due to squeezing a big number into the computer memory reserved for a small one.

Problems with big numbers in small spaces.

There wasn't enough space to hold the rocket's speed when it was passed to another smaller memory store. This caused the rocket to veer off course, break up and explode.

The moral: Make sure numbers fit their destinations