Are there any indications of animal loss during a launch (shuttle or rocket). I'm referring to animals in the vicinity. I'm sure that it's minimal, but does the exhaust/sound/etc. knock out a bunch of birds and rodents, for example? Is there a big die-off radius or anything? Maybe the noise prior to launch frightens most animals away or underground.
4$\begingroup$ Launch site wildlife protection is a big deal also because animal migrations need to be controlled to protect launch facility assets from damage that they could do. For example, during STS launch preparations they used to have a 24/7 bird watch / wildlife spotters / volunteers crew to look for woodpeckers and they installed owl-resembling balloons around the launch site to ward them off. Some wildlife might perish during launches but there's a lot of attention put to minimizing this. Then again, it depends on where the launch site is. Some countries are more protective to wildlife than others. $\endgroup$– TildalWaveDec 8, 2014 at 11:22
$\begingroup$ Thank you - perfect response - I must add that I did not mean it as a critical question; just truly curious when I couldn't find any information. If anything, it sounds like in some cases, there is sincere acknowledgement. $\endgroup$– MikeyDec 8, 2014 at 19:18
2$\begingroup$ @TidalWave One example of the need for that was in 1953 when mice ate the insulation of the electric wiring on the R-1 rocket "requiring hundreds of cats and repairmen" :-p $\endgroup$– LocalFluffDec 9, 2014 at 12:00
2$\begingroup$ I heard stories from workers at KSC having to clean birds out of the chain-link fence surrounding the pad after each shuttle launch. Anecdotal only, unfortunately. $\endgroup$– Organic MarbleMar 24, 2015 at 19:40
2$\begingroup$ @TidalWave after the 2nd accident there was even an "avian radar" watch because of concern about ANYTHING hitting the tiles. $\endgroup$– Organic MarbleMar 24, 2015 at 19:41
Yes, there was at least one. Well, we're pretty sure he didn't make it.
Another confirmed launch casualty is Space Bat:
Bravely going where no Bat had gone before.
3$\begingroup$ It's not probable but 100% certain that this poor bat didn't make it. It stayed there during the early launch clinging to the spray-on foam of the SSET, meaning it had to have gotten stuck to it before, likely due to frozen surface after cryogenics fueling (liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen that fuel SSME). The bottom part of the tank is filled with liquid hydrogen that causes some cryo-pumping (condensing and freezing solid atmospheric air) despite the insulation foam. Poor thing probably froze solid within seconds. $\endgroup$ Dec 14, 2014 at 0:33
The Shuttle nails a vulture as it clears the tower