SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

August 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.

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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
not rated yet Aug 23, 2014
No much encouraging though, from a technology already in use...
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.
not rated yet Aug 23, 2014
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1 / 5 (1) 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.
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.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 25, 2014
Not everything should be privatized.

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