UPDATED | SpaceX Falcon 9 Fails During ISS Cargo Launch

March 12, 2017 – 08:47 pm

Falcon 9 failureUpdated 2:30 p.m. EDT.

WASHINGTON — A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket suffered a failure more than two minutes after liftoff June 28 on a mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station, an accident that may have repercussions on both space station operations and the debate about funding for NASA’s commercial crew program.

The Falcon 9 lifted off on schedule at 10:21 a.m. EDT Sunday after a problem-free countdown, and in good weather conditions. The launch appeared to be going well until a little more than two minutes after liftoff, when the first stage plume became irregular and, seconds later, the rocket appeared to disintegrate.

“The first stage flight was successful until 139 seconds into that flight. We experienced an anomaly that led to the failure of the mission, ” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said at a NASA press conference nearly three hours after the failure.

Video of the launch showed the anomaly started about 2 minutes and 19 seconds after launch, with a cloud forming near the top of the vehicle. It was not initially clear if that was the cause of the failure, or an effect of another problem with the rocket. “Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown, ” SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the failure. “Will provide more info as soon as we review the data.”

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

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

Musk later tweeted that the problem was an “overpressurization event” of the liquid oxygen tank in the rocket’s second stage. “Data suggests counterintuitive cause, ” he said, without elaborating.

There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

“We do not expect this to have been a first stage issue, ” Shotwell said at the briefing. “We saw some pressurization indications in the second stage, which we’ll be tracking down and following up on there.” She said she didn’t have additional data about the second stage issue, and declined to speculate on the cause of the failure.

Source: spacenews.com

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