An unmanned SpaceX rocket destined for the International Space Station exploded just minutes after liftoff from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday morning. It was the third cargo ship to be lost in the past few months heading to the International Space Station. This incidence has also raised concerns about the flow of equipment and food to the astronauts living in space stations.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket earlier had 18 straight successful flights before the Sunday’s flight, including 5 this year. Those missions included six station cargo runs for NASA under a 15 flight contract.
“There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. That’s all we can say with confidence right now. Will have more to say following a thorough analysis,” tweeted Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX.
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
NASA officials’ statement on the explosion of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket
Mike Suffredinito, NASA station program manager said that the International Space Station crew, including an American astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts has enough supply of food on board to last until October. So the loss of the SpaceX rocket does not pose an immediate threat for them.
Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, said in a statement “We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. 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.”
United States will have to rely on Russia and Japan to resupply the station after the explosion of SpaceX rocket. NASA’s second cargo transporter, run by Orbital ATK is grounded due to a launch accident which occurred in October.
Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX, said in a press conference that the company will investigate the explosion of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket minutely and they will do everything they need to do to correct it.