SpaceX’s Rocket Prototype Suffers a Setback

By Carl Engelking | August 25, 2014 2:34 pm

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches in July. (Credit:SpaceX)

In the process of revolutionizing space travel, there’s bound to be a few hiccups.

On Friday, SpaceX experienced one of those hiccups. During a test flight at their Texas development site, a three-engine version of the company’s unmanned Falcon 9 reusable (F9R) rocket self-destructed shortly after launching.

Flight Cut Short

During the brief flight, the rocket’s onboard sensors detected an anomaly and initiated its detonation sequence, NBC reports. Fortunately, no one was injured. According to a statement from SpaceX:

With research and development projects, detecting vehicle anomalies during the testing is the purpose of the program. Today’s test was particularly complex,  pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test.  As is our practice, the company will be reviewing the flight record details to learn more about the performance of the vehicle prior to our next test.

The F9R, a successor to the company’s Grasshopper rocket, is designed deliver cargo to orbiting destinations like the International Space Station and — most n0tably — guide itself safely back to Earth for reuse. It’s part of SpaceX’s ultimate goal of economizing space travel, by eliminating the company’s dependence on single-use rockets.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Space & Physics, top posts
MORE ABOUT: space exploration
  • Robert Pawlak

    Oh my gosh

  • Christopher Scott

    This is not unusual for an experimental vehicle, especially the world’s first and only vertical takeoff and landing rocket. You actually need to take these systems to the edge of their capabilities and push them hard, so its inevitable and expected that you’ll see failures but that’s how you learn. They are pushing the boundaries of what is possible, not just twittering at the edges like their fossilized competitors who haven’t done anything truly innovative in decades. This will soon be forgotten.


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