The SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket that exploded minutes after take-off didn’t carry any astronauts, but its success was quite critical to the crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Apart from multiple essential components that the SpaceX rocket was supposed to deliver, it was also carrying food and sustenance rations to the guys floating in a lab suspended 250 kilometres above earth.
Though it was a picture-perfect countdown and lift-off on a Sunday with cloudless skies for the SpaceX rocket, it suddenly went horribly wrong about 2 minutes 19 seconds into the flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida. A huge white fuming trail was led by a burning SpaceX rocket which exploded and fiery plumes shot out. Pieces of the debris safely landed in the Atlantic Ocean thanks to the carefully designed trajectory of the unmanned rocket.
Owing to the failure of the SpaceX rocket, NASA has lost a huge and insanely expensive grocery bag and tool chest. Customized space-suits, and a modern-configuration docking port that would welcome future commercial crew capsules were part of more than 5,200 pounds of space station cargo that blew up even before the rocket left the upper atmosphere.
However, the most critical component that the SpaceX rocket carried was food for the astronauts stationed at the ISS. With every unmanned mission going up in smoke in the last few months, astronauts have had to carefully ration their food supplies.
This is the second failed shipment in a row and the third in eight months. As early as April this year, a Russian cargo ship spun out of control and burned up upon re-entry, along with all its precious contents. In October 2014, an Orbital Sciences Corp. supply rocket exploded even before it had taken off. This Falcon 9 rocket was meant to salvage the depressingly reoccurring debacles and ensure delivery of food, clothes and science experiments for items lost in the earlier two mishaps.
NASA was counting heavily on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket probably because the seven previous SpaceX unmanned supply runs had gone well, matching and many-a-time exceeding the set parameters. But the failure of this rocket has put the survival of the astronauts at risk.
Though NASA’s space station program manager, Mike Suffredini, assured the space outpost had enough supplies on board to make it to “October or so,” SpaceNews had painted a grimmer picture, saying that astronauts aboard the ISS may run out of food as early as 5th September 2015.
It appears Russia might be the knight in shining armour that swoops in and saves the astronauts from starvation as its own rocket will attempt to send supplies this Friday from Kazakhstan.
[Image Credit | Red Huber/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images]