Just days after Orbital’s rocket was destroyed in October, Virgin Galactic’s experimental space plane was pulled apart over the Mojave Desert during a test flight. “The astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months”, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. “We will identify the issue we experienced, fix it and get back to flight”, Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said at Sunday news conference.
The resupply mission was carried out by an unmanned spacecraft; no one was hurt in the explosion. “We would be remiss to underestimate the gravity of the situation right now”, Florida Sen.
ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini of NASA said, “we’re not even close to that kind of conversation today given the logistics we have on board”. And in the event that the space station’s water-processing system fails, their water will also run out by September 17. But other things were lost in the Falcon 9 explosion besides 4,000 pounds of food – namely, a kind of docking adapter for the ISS that would have allowed other types of space vehicles to connect to it. There’s another Russian Progress supply flight planned this weekend, and a Russian crew scheduled to join the 3 astronauts there already later next month. It also relies on Russian Federation for its crew transportation for the time being. The craft was about 21 miles (34 kilometers) high when the accident occurred, NASA said.
So we can expect that the HoloLens device will reach the space station with any of these vehicles. In September, NASA announced that it had selected Boeing (NYSE:BA) and SpaceX to construct new spacecraft to transport astronauts to and from the space station starting in 2017.
Last year, three congressional members from Alabama and Colorado – where the Boeing-Lockheed venture has its operations – asked NASA for information about SpaceX launches that they said involved “an epidemic of anomalies”.
NASA officials said that SpaceX would do its own investigation of the failure under the supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Founded by CEO and Chief Technology Officer Elon Musk, the company’s relatively glamorous reputation may actually harm it in the wake of the accident, says Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University.
Aside from the consequences it might have on the worldwide Space Station, the rocket’s failure could also deal a serious blow to Space X, just when it was finally beginning to build a reputation. An investigation into the cause is ongoing.
Despite all these setbacks, industry proponents remain optimistic. If you look at the video, it seems like everything was going well after about a couple of minutes into the launch. “The longer they wait to launch again, the more people start talking about, ‘Maybe we were too overconfident about SpaceX, ‘” he told AFP.