SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

Aug 23, 2014
In this file photo, a SpaceX rocket is seen being blasted off at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 7, 2012

A SpaceX rocket exploded in midair during a test flight, though no one was injured, as the company seeks to develop a spacecraft that can return to Earth and be used again.

The rocket was a three-engine version of the F9R test vehicle that succeeds SpaceX's Grasshopper prototype.

"During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission," the said in a statement, released on Friday.

"Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area."

SpaceX noted that a Federal Aviation Administration representative was present during the test.

It stressed that the test was "particularly complex, pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test."

The company plans to review flight record details to understand what caused the problem before conducting another test.

SpaceX is competing with other companies—including Boeing, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin—to be the first commercial outfit to take astronauts to space, possibly as early as 2017.

Until then, the world's astronauts must rely on Russian Soyuz spacecraft at a cost of $70 million per seat.

Explore further: SpaceX's next-generation reusable rocket roars in tie-down test

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SpaceX unveils capsule to ferry astronauts to space

May 30, 2014

A sleek, white gumdrop-shaped space capsule that aims to carry up to seven astronauts to the International Space Station and return to land anywhere on Earth was unveiled Thursday by SpaceX.

Five things to know about SpaceX's flight plans

May 29, 2014

SpaceX has made supply runs to the International Space Station under a NASA contract. Now it's eyeing carrying astronauts to low-Earth orbit. NASA is depending on private companies to fill the void left ...

NASA image: Fishing LDSD out of the water

Aug 11, 2014

Divers retrieve the test vehicle for NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator off the coast of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

Recommended for you

Internet moguls Musk, Bezos shake up US space race

14 hours ago

The space race to end America's reliance on Russia escalated this week with a multibillion dollar NASA award for SpaceX's Elon Musk and an unexpected joint venture for Blue Origin's Jeff Bezos.

Winter in the southern uplands of Mars

Sep 19, 2014

Over billions of years, the southern uplands of Mars have been pockmarked by numerous impact features, which are often so closely packed that they overlap. One such feature is Hooke crater, shown in this ...

Five facts about NASA's ISS-RapidScat

Sep 19, 2014

NASA's ISS-RapidScat mission will observe ocean wind speed and direction over most of the globe, bringing a new eye on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. Here are five fast facts about the mission.

User comments : 8

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BobKob
5 / 5 (3) Aug 23, 2014
What a shame, hopefuly this doesn't put a damper on anything. These things are bound to happen.
John92
5 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2014
What a shame, hopefuly this doesn't put a damper on anything. These things are bound to happen.

"So we're 5-for-5 testing on this Grasshopper. But, but that means we're not pushing hard enough. We've got to tunnel one of those vehicle into the ground by trying something really hard. We haven't done that yet. So now our challenge to our test team is you've got to push hard enough that we're going to see something happen. A spectacular video."
Gwynne Shotwell on Grasshopper, 2013
Anda
not rated yet Aug 23, 2014
No much encouraging though, from a technology already in use...
ckid
5 / 5 (4) Aug 23, 2014
No test is ever really a failure. It's when things don't go as expected that you sometimes gain the best information. No doubt they will gain some important information for the next test launch.
RegularWriting
not rated yet Aug 23, 2014
This article has been linked to the News Feed:

http://www.regula...feed-38/
baudrunner
not rated yet Aug 23, 2014
No much encouraging though, from a technology already in use...
Not completely true. This test was of the heavy duty approach to the now proven grasshopper technology and so the first of its kind.
grondilu
5 / 5 (1) Aug 24, 2014
SpaceX should consider publishing videos of failures just as they publish videos of successes. First, failures are graphically spectacular. Two, the general public would then be more aware of the difficulty of the task and that could even reenforce admiration when success happens. And finally, imagine the suspense for a viewer watching such video for the first time, not being aware of the outcome beforehand.
zaxxon451
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2014
Not everything should be privatized.