With NASA not really in the rocket game at the moment, SpaceX has been tasked with handling some of the space agency's resupply missions to the International Space Station — and one just went haywire.
SpaceX's latest unmanned rocket — loaded with 5,000 pounds of food, tech and science gear — launched on Sunday to resupply the station and exploded just 2 minutes and 19 seconds after liftoff. It was a relatively massive explosion (this is a rocket we're talking about), and the whole thing was captured on video. Check it out below. This is the first time a Falcon 9 has ever failed, following 18 successful launches.
Though the supplies were lost, the astronauts hanging out in the ISS should be fine. The station is stocked with enough food and gear to keep everything running until September, and the Russians have a resupply mission set for July. So, assuming everything goes as planned, there's no reason to panic anytime soon.
Sadly, since the rocket exploded, SpaceX didn't get a chance to test out its extremely cool landing system, which has gotten close to bringing a rocket back to Earth and landing it on a barge. The most recent attempt hit the barge but tipped over during landing. Officials were hopeful this flight might be the one to finally get it right. Oh well, there's always next time.
A team of experts at SpaceX are still trying to figure out exactly what went wrong with Sunday's flight, but initial data suggests the explosion was caused by overpressure in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank.
Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015