SpaceX Misses One in Florida
Space flight is nothing like golf, but if it were, SpaceX’s recent headlines would look like a pro who’d fallen off. An expensive mistake left the International Space Station without a needed shipment of supplies and parts. The unmanned rocket broke apart shortly after liftoff about 27 miles in the air.
A little over 5,000 pounds of gear were on board the rocket, which included a new water filtration system. The current system is near the end of its life cycle, but the space station has enough water stored on board to last until October.
Astronaut Scott Kelly was alert, on the space station, during the launch, watching. “Space is hard,” he said on Twitter.
The failed launch was a major setback to NASA and SpaceX, who hope to have their first approved manned flight by December 2017. This is, however, not their first major mistake with unmanned flights, and continuing to have unexpected setbacks such as this one could delay their manned flight schedules. It could also give commercial flight competitor Virgin Galactic a leg up in the race to conquer space.
William Gerstenmaier, a NASA official, told the press that a manned flight in July would still be happening. Sunday’s problems were obviously not a very good sign for the agency, but all the same, it will continue with its other operations. It would seem there will be more precautions about the equipment used to launch human beings later in the year. In the meantime, the agencies will have to figure out what has gone wrong with this most recent flight attempt.
The flight had a good start, but something went wrong a couple dozen miles or so up, and then it was gone in a poof of smoke. This is obviously not what can be allowed to happen with a human capsule. This means the companies will have to figure out what has happened to the flight that’s gone down, or they won’t rightly be able to use the same equipment to try and launch human beings.
SpaceX has been developing equipment for NASA in competition with companies like Boeing, and events like this crash are the kinds of things that can represent real setbacks for private firms. These kinds of mistakes can delay private programs by years, it would seem. Thus, it would seem that the companies would avoid all such mistakes in the future, and have successful launches if they’re even allowed back though it seems from here that they will be. NASA officials have not come out and said they’re canceling anything yet, anyway. These kinds of mistakes are, after all, to be expected. For now, they can send a supply shipment through a Russian company.
Images from Shutterstock.