Sad news from NASA today, as it appears that the latest rocket test by Space-X has failed, exploding mere moments after take-off. Fortunately, this was an unmanned mission, and at this time NASA believes there is no threat to anyone on Earth, nor to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
No confirmed details have been released yet, but some believe an over-pressurization could be the cause. Visionary founder of Space-X Elon Musk has confirmed as much via Twitter:
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
Yahoo News has more on the reaction from NASA and Space-X:
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell assured reporters, at an early afternoon news conference, that the company will fix the problem — “and get back to flight.”
She declined to speculate on what it would take to resume launches. She said the company had followed all procedures with respect to safety.
Losing this shipment — which included replacements for items lost in two previous failed supply flights — was a huge setback for NASA in more than one way. The space agency is counting on private industry to transport cargo — and eventually astronauts — to the orbiting lab. The California-based SpaceX is one of the contenders.
“This is a tough day,” said NASA’s top spaceflight official, William Gerstenmaier. He said there was nothing common among the three accidents, “other than it’s space and it’s difficult to go fly.” This is the second failed station shipment in a row and the third in eight months.
Though the scientific community is obviously disappointed, we are reminded that even in failures during tests like these, we learn quite a bit about best to proceed with our future space program efforts.