The last two attempts to resupply the global Space Station in unmanned rockets have gone kablooey.
Kelly’s identical twin, Mark, a ex- space shuttle commander who is taking part in medical studies on the ground, pointed out that SpaceX, until now, had “a great record” with its Falcon 9 rockets.
As we reported Sunday, the Falcon 9 exploded a few minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. [See photos of the failed Falcon 9 launch].
“Very sorry to hear of the #CRS7 loss”, United Launch Alliance Chief Executive Officer Tory Bruno said in a Twitter message, using the NASA designation for Sunday’s mission.
Yet the rash of mishaps has many anxious, especially those in Congress who are footing NASA’s bill and have lately been stingy in allocating funds for NASA’s partnership with commercial companies such as SpaceX.
Also watching the upshot of the booster misfortune is Rand Simberg, author of the book “Safe Is Not an Option” (Interglobal Media LLC, 2013).
As Bloomberg writer Ashlee Vance says in his new biography of Mr. Musk, “SpaceX has become the free radical trying to upend everything about this industry”. “If the telemetry doesn’t tell the tale … and they have to hope they’ll find enough debris to figure it out, that’s bad news”. [Explosion!
The Progess 60 cargo craft attached to a Soyuz-U rocket are scheduled to launch at 12:55 a.m. EDT Friday from Kazakhstan.
SpaceX vowed to find the explosion’s cause. “It makes one question the utility of that lengthy and costly process”, Simberg concluded. Others more bluntly called it a “catastrophic failure”. “The worldwide Space Station has become in a sense a hostage to the inability of anyone to get it done”. He believes that SpaceX probably will be flying again in the next two to three months. Both of the contractors that the US government relies on are now on the sidelines after their failures.
Dragon, the first private space freighter to have started operating in summer 2012, has already conducted 15 successful missions under a Nasa contract.
While acknowledging “a pressurization event” in the second stage of the flight, Shotwell said, “I do not want to speculate as to what happened”.
In this whodunit, there are clues pointing to pressure problems in the second stage’s liquid oxygen tank, SpaceX founder Elon Musk (seen here) tweeted within hours.
Up until now, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 has only encountered one prior, minor anomaly in the eighteen times that the NewSpace firm has utilized the launch vehicle to send an array of payloads to orbit.
Typically, a Progress launch doesn’t get much attention; it’s a routine method for resupplying the ISS. And it’s a setback to SpaceX’s ambitious plans to deploy reusable rockets.
NASA still believes that they will be ready for commercial space exploration by 2017.
Also aboard the doomed Dragon spacecraft were a new docking device and a water filtration system. A failure should have been anticipated.
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