SpaceX is awesome. Elon Musk is crazy, but awesome. I love space and have been following the space program for many years.
Unfortunately for them one of their Falcon 9 rockets carrying a Dragon Capsule to the International Space Station suffered from RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) yesterday (Sunday the 28th of June). That is NASA speak for a big ass explosion. The really sad part is that this happened just before stage 2 separation so the cargo destined for the International Space Station was lost in the process.
Being a big fan of explosions I am very conflicted. I am the guy that watches Formula 1 racing for the accidents, I however don’t watch rocket launches for the explosions.
I was hoping to see the Falcon 9 rocket land itself on a barge in the ocean after successfully delivering its cargo to the ISS. That would have been a truly groundbreaking achievement. That didn’t happen, it actually went like this:
Skip to 2:15 if you just want to see the bang.
This is what SpaceX has had to say so far:
Following a nominal liftoff, Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown, resulting in loss of mission. Preliminary analysis suggests the vehicle experienced an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank approximately 139 seconds into flight. Telemetry indicates first stage flight was nominal and that Dragon remained healthy for some period of time following separation.
Our teams are reviewing data to determine root cause and we will be able to provide more information following a thorough fault tree analysis. Below is a link to the CRS-7 post launch briefing with representatives from SpaceX, NASA and the FAA, additional updates will be posted as they become available.
This is a major setback as SpaceX is working towards sending people up to the ISS. Luckily they are developing a system that will be able to save astronauts in a situation like this, although I’m not sure how much waning they had before the bang.
If you have about an hour to kill, I have embedded the NASA press conference talking about the “anomaly” and “launch failure” below.