SpaceX Falcon 9 Explodes Due To Upper Stage Oxygen Tank

Posted: Jun 29 2015, 4:30am CDT | by , Updated: Jun 29 2015, 5:19am CDT, in Latest Science News


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SpaceX Falcon 9 Explodes due to Upper Stage Oxygen Tank
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  • SpaceX Takeoff Fiasco Supposedly Caused by Upper Stage Oxygen Tank Malfunction

The takeoff fiasco of the SpaceX vehicle was supposedly caused by an upper stage oxygen tank that malfunctioned.

It looked alright at the beginning as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off carrying the Dragon equipment vehicle into the skies. However it was no go, since it suffered a severe glitch while hovering over the Atlantic Ocean.

The initial 120 seconds of the journey went smooth as silk. It was what happened after that which really botched up the whole operation big time. Just before the first obstacle of leaving the rocket behind, the vehicle simply collapsed in a heap of dust.

It’s the very first time that a Falcon 9 has faltered in case of the SpaceX vehicle. Ever since the whole shebang began about half a decade ago, over 18 such flights have taken place and they have all been remarkably successful.

The journey of the Falcon 9 rocket consists of two stages. But this time around a big mistake occurred and it was failure on a large scale. The CEO of SpaceX, Elon Musk said in response to queries that the main issue was a buildup of lots of pressure in the upper stage oxygen tank of the vehicle.

As for the president of the company, he said that some degree of investigation would occur into the matter to see who was responsible and what exactly had gone awry.

“We do not expect this to be a first stage issue. We saw some pressurization indications in the second stage which we will be investigating,” SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told members of the media (via ArsTechnica) in a post-incident press briefing.

The telemetry that reached earth showed the vehicle to be travelling at full speed and also showed it reaching a distance of 45 kilometers into the stratosphere. Over 4000 pounds of cargo which included odds and ends of equipment for the crew aboard the ISS was loaded on the vehicle. It also had an IDA on board. This is a very special piece of hardware.

One of the execs of NASA said that this was not exactly a bed of roses they had found themselves in. The large amount of equipment lost thanks to the bungling of the operation was astronomical in its cost value. And after the financial costs, it would take some time to replenish the funds necessary to replace the equipment.

Recovery will be a slow process. The challenges and pressures of spaceflight whether it is manned or unmanned remains an all-time stressor for NASA and SpaceX. The next supply for the crew aboard the ISS will have to be managed somehow since it is crucial indeed.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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