SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Disintegrates After Launch

A SpaceX rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on the morning of Sunday, June 28. But it broke apart shortly after takeoff.


SpaceX is the first commercial space company to successfully deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). In 2012, the company made history when its unmanned Dragon capsule successfully docked with the ISS, delivered cargo, then safely returned to Earth.

The company attempted its seventh resupply mission on June 28. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off with the Dragon spacecraft at 10:21 a.m. local time. But the rocket disintegrated just minutes after takeoff, destroying Dragon and its more than two and a half tons of equipment, experiments, and supplies.

Shortly after the incident, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, posted on Twitter, “Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data.”

After evaluating preliminary data, Musk reported, “There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.”

The SpaceX anomaly team will investigate the incident further to determine precisely what caused the rocket to explode.


This failure is SpaceX’s first failed ISS mission. But, unfortunately for the astronauts aboard the space station, this isn’t the first failed resupply mission.

Russia’s Progress cargo spaceship was lost shortly after its launch in April 2015. And Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket at Cygnus capsule broke apart near its launch platform in October 2014.

Although these missions deliver important scientific research projects to the ISS, they also supply the astronauts with important basics like food and oxygen. So the failure of these missions and the loss of necessary cargo makes things difficult for the space station’s inhabitants. The astronauts would reportedly need to tap into reserve supplies if no cargo arrives by September 2015. But two supply missions are scheduled before then.


Part of SpaceX’s recent mission was supposed to include an attempted vertical landing of the Falcon 9 on a platform in the Atlantic Ocean following the separation of the Dragon capsule. But, obviously, the mission didn’t get that far.

SpaceX wants to master the process of landing its rockets in order to reuse them for future missions. Reusable rockets will considerably reduce launch expenses.

The company attempted a landing in January 2015, but that attempt failed. The company tried again in April 2015 with better results. The rocket got within ten meters of its target, but it descended too hard and couldn’t stick its landing.


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