'Cause unknown' in SpaceX rocket blast

Space X's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 28, 2015
Space X's Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from space launch complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 28, 2015

SpaceX came up empty Monday in its search to figure out why an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket exploded minutes after blasting off from a NASA launchpad with a load of space-bound cargo.

The US-made , which was carrying 4,000 pounds (1,800 kilograms) of supplies aboard the Dragon ship, blew up in a cloud of smoke on Sunday, raining down in pieces over the Atlantic Ocean and Florida coast.

"Cause still unknown after several thousand engineering-hours of review," CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter early Monday.

He said experts were now focusing on the final milliseconds of the flight in order to determine a cause.

The rocket failure was the third in a series of cargo disasters in the past eight months.

In October, US company Orbital's Antares rocket exploded after launch from Virginia, and in April, Russia lost contact with its Progress cargo ship shortly after liftoff.

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© 2015 AFP

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Jun 29, 2015
Do craft like the SpaceX Falcon or other rockets have anything akin to the "black boxes" that aircraft have? If not, perhaps they should include a type of black box that collects AND transmits all vitals constantly, and especially if an anomaly is detected, an instant data dump upload to mission control.

Jun 30, 2015
LariAnn, those rockets are stuffed with sensors that feed back to launch control in real-time. There's a ton of data. SpaceX engineers are pawing through it now. NASA engineers are, too.

General comment: I believe I read yesterday that the cause had been narrowed down to the second stage, an overpressurized oxygen tank. It appears that the second stage blew up while the first stage was still powering the spacecraft. Why the tank was overpressurized and what exactly happened as a result are still being investigated. Though that was a very preliminary analysis and might be replaced by other explanations.

Typically, a catastrophic launch failure is the result of a cascade of smaller failures. Tracing all of them will take some time.

Found the link: https://twitter.c...?lang=en

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