Science Sunday: SpaceX Explodes


An unmanned rocket by Elon Musk’s SpaceX on a resupply mission to the International Space Station exploded Sunday just minutes after launch.

It wasn’t clear what caused the rocket, named Dragon, to fail. SpaceX will conduct an investigation overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration.

It was the third resupply mission to fail in recent months. The three astronauts on the space station have about four months worth of supplies, according to NASA.

This is the first big failure for SpaceX, which has had a good track record so far (they’ve had a few failed launches of experimental craft as well). You can follow Phil Plait here who speculates that it was a fuel tank rupture.

I’m a big fan of private space flight and disappointed that Congress is trying to curtail it a bit. The potential savings is good but the potential for breakthrough technology is very large. Hopefully, this won’t be too big a setback.

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  1. Seattle Outcast

    Congress is big fan of the idea that “only a government can go to space” for some odd reason.¬† Part of it I suspect is vanity, some of it best called “just stupid”, and the rest of it a desire to have their thumb on what gets put into orbit, just in case someone surprises them.

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  2. InsipiD

    I had been watching SpaceX and turning into a big fan the more that I knew. ¬†This is far from unprecedented, but I had hoped somehow that they’d really show everybody how it’s done, and their failures had been few.

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