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SpaceX Rocket Explodes

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With that tweet, Elon Musk acknowledged the explosion of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable rocket.

In an e-mail to Business Insider, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor said, “During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission. 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 was conceived as a replacement for the retired Grasshopper rocket, and has been touted by Musk as potentially making spaceflight much less expensive. The F9R is designed to be a reusable method of payload delivery.

 

SpaceX Statement:

Earlier today, in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX conducted a test flight of a three engine version of the F9R test vehicle (successor to Grasshopper). During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission.

Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area. There were no injuries or near injuries. An FAA representative was present at all times.
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.
SpaceX will provide another update when the flight data has been fully analyzed.
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[youtube=http://youtu.be/GBSLPB1p800]
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No injuries were reported, but witnesses noted several grass fires where debris from the explosion landed. A representative from the Federal Aviation Administration was present, and the rocket stayed within its designated launch area, so the fires were confined to the immediate area.
The McGregor, TX testing facility has been in operation since 2003, and SpaceX has renewed its lease with the city to run through January 2012. The private space exploration company is contracted with NASA to fly at least twelve missions as part of a $1.6 billion contract to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. Upcoming missions include the launch of the AsiaSat 6 communications satellite from Cape Canaveral next week and a Dragon cargo ship going to the ISS on September 19th.
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Jason P. Hunt

Jason P. Hunt (founder/EIC) is the author of the sci-fi novella "The Hero At the End Of His Rope". His short film "Species Felis Dominarus" was a finalist in the Sci Fi Channel's 2007 Exposure competition.

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