Unmanned SpaceX Rocket Explodes En Route to ISS

Martha Washington - Author

Oct. 17 2016, Updated 3:55 a.m. ET

A SpaceX rocket launched from Florida’s Cape Canaveral disintegrated in the sky minutes after takeoff.

The SpaceX rocket was en route to the International Space Station (ISS) and was carrying a cargo ship on Sunday morning. The SpaceX manufactured, Falcon 9 rocket, was 208-foot-tall.

The SpaceX rocket incident is the third cargo ship in a row lost over the past eight months. However, NASA officials have backup preparations for such a mishap and there they claim there will be no disruption in the operations of the ISS.

Despite a loss of supplies through this SpaceX mishap, the three astronauts at the ISS have an ample store of water, food and equipment, according to officials. They should be able to continue smooth operations until at least late October.

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NASA’s spokesperson, George Diller, said, “We appear to have had a launch vehicle failure.” He added that a loss of contact occurred two minutes and 19 seconds into the launch.

Reports say a white cloud appeared out of the midsection of the SpaceX rocket as it disintegrated in the sky. The debris fell 20 miles below into the Atlantic Ocean.

Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut, suspects that the failure might have started from the front side of the craft. The front side of the SpaceX craft contains the dragon capsule and the second stage engine.

SpaceX’s COO and president, Gwynne Shotwell, said that the problem occurred in the vehicle’s general location and would have taken psychic readings to predict. The liquid oxygen tank also underwent over-pressurization in the vehicle’s second stage.

The actual cause of the vehicle’s failure is still unclear. The team at NASA is trying to analyze the two-minute data sent through the craft along with the video footage of its flight path.

The loss of cargo through this failure is significant. The SpaceX rocket had on board a space suit and a brand new docking station along with other supplies. It will take time and money to replace these.

Another supply ship, Russian Progress, is set to launch on July 3 with a Japanese HTV flight to the ISS scheduled for August.

Shotwell said that this incident is a reminder of how difficult working in space is.

NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, William H. Gerstenmaier, said that this incident emphasizes on the importance of full financing for the SpaceX and Boeing capsules. There have been major cuts in the financing provided by the Obama administration.

Gerstenmaier added that lack of funding prevents them from doing required technical work. The space environment is not conducive to any kind of delays in technical work.

[Photo By: Handout/Getty Images News]


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