KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – The root cause of Sundays (June 28) devastating launch failure of the commercial SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is “still unknown” says SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk, following the loss of the NASA contracted resupply mission carrying crucial gear and research experiments to the crew serving aboard the Earth orbiting International Space Station (ISS).
Meanwhile, search and recovery teams from SpaceX and the Coast Guard are scouring the ocean and beaches along the Florida Space Coast for any signs of potentially dangerous Falcon rocket debris that rained down from the sky into the Atlantic Ocean after the sudden explosion unexpectedly destroyed the vehicle barely two minutes after a sun drenched liftoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:21 a.m. EDT.
All appeared normal as the Falcon 9 booster and Dragon resupply spaceship were streaking skywards through majestically blue Florida skies when catastrophe struck at approximately 148 seconds after blastoff and the rocket exploded violently- utterly destroying the rocket ship and its two ton load of critical supplies heading to the astronauts and cosmonauts living on board the ISS.
The upper stage appeared to break up in flight as the nine first stage Merlin 1D engines were firing as planned and the rocket was arcing over.
But why that happened and the vehicle disintegrated in mere seconds is still a mystery which will take some time to resolve.
“Cause still unknown after several thousand engineering-hours of review. Now parsing data with a hex editor to recover final milliseconds, ” tweeted SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Although the cause is unknown, Musk also announced that the failure might be related to a problem with the Falcon 9 upper stage. since the first stage engines were still firing as planned.
“There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause, ” tweeted Musk.
The rocket was traveling about 5000 km/h at an altitude of 45 kilometers at the time of the mishap.
“Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data, ” tweeted SpaceX CEO Elon Musk soon after the explosion.
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