It hasn’t been the best few days for various rocket launches around the world. On Friday, SpaceX had to blow up one of its Falcon 9 rockets. The private company was testing its Falcon 9 rocket when a malfunction was detected. Software onboard the rocket detected the issue while the rocket was a few hundred meters in the air and aborted the mission. That abort turned out to be an explosion.
You may be wondering, why blow the rocket up? Beats having an out of control rocket soaring over populated areas. Check out the YouTube video below from user Garrett Frankson.
No one was hurt from the explosion and the rocket responded like it should when a malfunction is detected.
Elon Musk posted a tweet that read in part “Rockets are tricky.”
Three engine F9R Dev1 vehicle auto-terminated during test flight. No injuries or near injuries. Rockets are tricky …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2014
SpaceX released a statement about the rocket explosion that reads, “Earlier today, in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX conducted a test flight of a three engine version of the F9R vehicle (successor to Grasshopper). During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission.”
“Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area. There were no injuries or near injuries. An FAA representative was present at all times.”
“With research and development projects, detecting vehicle anomalies during the testing is the purpose of the program. Today’s test was particularly complex pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test. As is our practice, the company will be reviewing the flight record details to learn more about the performance of the vehicle prior to our next test.”
The European Space Agency (ESA) also encountered some problems with their recent launch of two Galileo global positioning satellites. The rocket carrying the satellites got off the ground fine. It was getting them into the correct orbit that was the problem. The two satellites were put into a lower orbit than expected.
The biggest issue is the inclination. The satellites needed an inclination of 56 degrees. Instead, it’s 47. Correcting the inclination issue would “leave them with propellant levels so low that the effort would be deemed useless,” according to Spacenews.com.
The same rocket system was going to be used to launch eight more Galileo satellites. I would imagine that has been put on hold until ESA officials can correct the problem.
Yeah, it was a rough week for space companies. But, at least no one was hurt.