It was also transporting new docking mechanism to be used for future astronaut vehicles.
The global space industry is reeling after three cargo disasters in less than a year have delivered a costly blow to efforts to supply astronauts aboard the worldwide Space Station. “We lost a lot of research equipment on this flight”, NASA Associate Administrator Bill Gerstenmaier told a news conference.
This puts added pressure on another resupply launch scheduled for Friday by Russian Federation, its first attempt since losing a supply capsule in April.
The industry got a huge boost when OneWeb, which is building hundreds of small satellites to beam the internet from space, announced a deal to launch more than 65 rockets in what it said was the largest commercial rocket launch deal ever.
NASA commentator George Diller said “the vehicle has broken up” after the explosion.
Data stopped flowing from the Falcon 9 rocket around 2 minutes and 19 seconds, he said.
The accident is a setback for private commercial space company SpaceX, which has until now been on a run of successful achievements. “They’ve essentially replaced the third stage of the rocket with an older configuration that has flown with Progress before”, Gerstenmaier said. Now NASA buys seats from Russian Federation to get astronauts to the orbiting lab. It’s logical, like the board game Clue, said retired space expert John Logsdon, who was on the board that investigated the 2003 space shuttle Columbia accident.
James Kohlenberger, a ex- chief of staff in the White House science adviser’s office who helped devise the commercial-crew strategy, said the explosion did not diminish the wisdom of betting on the New Space innovators for getting Americans launched again from US soil.
The failure, however, does not deter the space agency from further cargo missions.
SpaceX and NASA will conduct an investigation into the June 28 launch failure, which could take months, and it is likely all scheduled Falcon 9 launches will be suspended for the time being.
In October 2014, an Orbital-ATK Antares rocket exploded on the launch pad, preventing supplies from reaching the ISS. This is, however, not their first major mistake with unmanned flights, and continuing to have unexpected setbacks such as this one could delay their manned flight schedules.
For a group of students from North Charleston, S.C., the failure was a second dose of disappointment.
Another experiment on the rocket came from students at Bell Middle School in Golden. This shows the difficulty and challenges we face every day going to space. “I’m sure we will determine what happened, and will return to flight as safely and reliably as possible”.
Right now, the space station has enough provisions to support a crew of six until October, even if no other supply ships make it there.
“The key is not to launch too quickly because back-to-back failures would be disastrous”. “Space is hard”.
NASA’s robotic Dragon capsule, however, was destroyed in the mishap.
Shotwell said the first stage of the rocket seemed to work well.
The countdown had proceeded without a hitch or worries about weather, and the 208-foot-tall Falcon 9 rocket, built by Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX, lifted off at 10:21 a.m. Eastern time.
Launch spectators lining the beaches near Cape Canaveral were confused, at first, by the unexpected plumes in the sky.
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