SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-7 launch fails and explodes

March 17, 2016 – 05:47 am

spacex launch third attempt falcon 9SpaceX just failed in its third attempt to make history.

On Sunday morning it tried and failed to retrieve one of its Falcon 9 rockets, the CRS-7, after a launch, which would have made it the first reusable rocket ever. But just a few minutes after takeoff, two minutes and 14 seconds to be precise, the rocket exploded into tons of pieces. It was traveling about 1 kilometer per second at an altitude of 40 kilometers.

"The vehicle has broken up, " NASA confirmed on its live stream of the event.

Here's the rocket before takeoff:


Here it is soaring toward space:NASA

spacex launch third attempt falcon 9And another angle:NASAThen it exploded into a bunch of pieces. NASA says it's still not clear what happened, but they're officially calling it a "non-nominal launch, " NASA-speak for a failed launch.

Here's the start of the explosion, 2 minutes and 14 seconds after takeoff. You can see it beginning to excessively smoke.

YouTubeThen it explodes.

NASAPoof, it all turns into a giant cloud of smoke about fifteen seconds later.

YouTubeThen it looks like a meteor shower.

Watch it happen:

spacex launch third attempt falcon 9Your browser does not support the video tag. NASA/SpaceX

Here's a tweet from NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who watched the fallout from aboard the International Space Station, the artificial satellite currently in low-Earth orbit where an international team of astronauts is conducting science experiments and testing the various systems and equipment that would eventually be used on missions to the Moon and Mars.

Watched #Dragon launch from @space_station Sadly failed Space is hard Teams assess below @NASAKennedy #YearInSpace

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly)

spacex crs-7 launch explosionThis third rocket landing attempt by SpaceX held a lot of promise for the science community. Rockets cost millions of dollars to build but, to date, none of them have been retrieved successfully for further use. Landing them is difficult and every attempt so far has ended in a fiery explosion. So rockets get used once, then never again.

If Falcon 9 had successfully landed on the platform, it could have ushered in a new age of affordable, commercial spaceflight. Eventually, scientists are hopeful that rockets can be launched and relaunched within the same day, the way airplanes are used over and over again.

SpaceX explosionSpaceX came close to nailing a rocket landing during its second attempt in April. The rocket hovered over the landing platform perfectly before touching down. But then it toppled over and exploded.

This one didn't come close to landing at all; instead it exploded in mid-air just a few minutes after takeoff.

Musk tweeted "Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data."


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