The Initial Launch
The SpaceX Falcon 9 blew up just a few minutes after its countdown, holding the cargo capsule aimed for the International Space Station. It was the rocket’s third failure in attempting to send supplies to the station.
It seemed as if the launch was executed perfectly, but that however was not the case. As the Falcon soared over Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at exactly 10:21 am., everything looked picture perfect. This abruptly changed when the rocket exploded a few seconds after the two-minute mark. Debris from the explosion scattered across the Atlantic ocean, but did no harm to the ground.
George Diller, NASA spokesman announced “We appear to have had a launch vehicle failure”.
According to some Air Force officials, the Falcon had “experienced an anomaly” at around 148 seconds after liftoff. NASA and SpaceX began to investigate more information about the accident, and are holding a news conference at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Following the stage of separation the rocket was intended to land on a stage near the Atlantic, 215 miles away. Unfortunately, the Falcon never got that far into the flight.
The main plan was to transport the Dragon cargo capsule to the space station. This capsule housed equipment, a brand new docking adapter (to work with future a virtual-reality headset), and an astonishing two and a half tons of supplies.
These supplies contained the basics for living, oxygen, and food. Losing this valuable capsule places more stress on the crew, and more tension for the mission planners.
However, the crew had already completed six cargo runs successfully. The Dragon was under a contract with NASA, of $1.6 billion. Today was SpaceX’s first unsuccessful mission where the goal was to reach the space station. This has set back their plan of resupplying the station.
NASA’s space station program manager, Mike Suffredini, told reporters that even if the cargo does not arrive, “we’re good to the October time frame”.
For those interested, here is a video of the explosion.