At two minutes, twenty seconds after liftoff, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 suffered a launch vehicle failure. The Falcon 9 rocket was carrying a Dragon capsule with supplies bound for the International Space Station. Fast forward to about 2:30 in the video below.
SpaceX’s Elon Musk confirmed the rocket suffered a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Musk describes it as “an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank.”
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
Engineers are reviewing data right now to determine the exact cause of the failure. SpaceX will hold a press conference at 12:30 pm EST to discuss this morning’s events in more detail.
Today’s rocket failure was SpaceX’s first by a Falcon 9. The rocket had been a part of 18 successful missions before today. This was the second recent failure of an ISS-bound cargo mission. A Progress mission failed in April.
4,300 pounds of supplies were lost today
The usual payload of food, supplies and spare parts were aboard the Dragon capsule. SpaceX was also delivering the first of two International Docking Adapters (IDA) to the International Space Station.
The pair of International Docking Adapters are vital components that will allow future space taxis to dock with the International Space Station. Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon are currently in development and are expected to start shuttling astronauts to the ISS in 2017. NASA’s Sean Kelly talks more about the IDA in the video below.
Meteor can’t catch a break. The original Meteor hardware for the ‘Meteor Composition Determination’ study was supposed to reach the ISS in October 2014, but was lost in the launch failure of the Antares launch vehicle.
Meteor’s primary goal is to study meteors in Earth orbit. It will use image analysis to provide data on the physical and chemical properties of meteoroid dust.
Once Meteor finally gets to the ISS, it will study meteors in Earth’s orbit for two years.
SpaceX’s Dragon capsule was also carrying 30 student-operated experiments.
You can read more about Dragon’s payload at SpaceFlight101.
What about the ISS crew?
They are fine. The next scheduled supply mission is set for July 3rd when a Russian Soyuz capsule will bring additional supplies to the International Space Station.
This morning’s failure proves once again how hard it is to get to space.