The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the loss Sunday of the SpaceX Commercial Resupply Services 7 (CRS-7) mission.
“We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. However, the astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months. We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight. The commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles. We will continue operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we continue to use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system.
“A Progress vehicle is ready to launch July 3, followed in August by a Japanese HTV flight. Orbital ATK, our other commercial cargo partner, is moving ahead with plans for its next launch later this year.
“SpaceX has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first six cargo resupply missions to the station, and we know they can replicate that success. We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward. This is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge, but we learn from each success and each setback. Today’s launch attempt will not deter us from our ambitious human spaceflight program.”
During a post-launch press conference on June 28, managers from SpaceX and NASA discussed the mishap following the liftoff of the SpaceX CRS-7 mission from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The mission was to deliver supplies, hardware and other important cargo to the International Space Station. SpaceX is leading the investigation of the cause of the issue.
Today was Elon Musk’s forty-fourth birthday. I can’t know for sure, but it was probably the worst one of his life. His company had planned to fly a cargo mission to the International Space Station this morning from Florida, and then attempt to land its first stage on a ship out at sea. Instead, the Falcon 9 rocket blew up a little before two minutes into the flight, losing the cargo — including a new spacesuit for EVA’s — and the landing opportunity. It’s been confirmed that controllers did not send a “destruct” signal.
It was the nineteenth launch of the system, and its first-ever mission failure for that vehicle. It was in fact the first mission failure since 2008.
It’s too early to know the root cause, but indications are that there was a problem in the second stage as it prepared to light, but prior to separation from the first stage.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft breaks apart shortly after liftoff at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Sunday, June 28, 2015. The rocket was carrying supplies to the International Space Station. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
The vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent. Team is investigating. Updates to come.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 28, 2015
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
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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