SpaceX’s unmanned Falcon 9 rocket went up in flames two minutes after launching at Cape Canaveral this Sunday.
Bound for the International Space Station, Falcon 9 rocket is the second consecutively to explode soon after liftoff, pinpointing how spaceflight is still a young industry that has a long way to go.
For the SpaceX officials, as well as NASA and other actors in the industry, this event is not as catastrophic as it might seem
At 10:21 A.M., the moment of take-off of Space X’s Falcon 9, everything seemed to be going according to plan. Two minutes later marked another blow to the California-based company, headed by Elon Musk.
NASA seems to be more lenient towards the failure of Falcon 9 with official accounts stating the it was negligence that caused the explosion. At the same time, failures like this are the stepping stones of spaceflight development.
Research and development makes use of these otherwise seemingly catastrophic events to build better, more performant and secure technology in a lesson learned approach. Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX declared that the explosion of Falcon 9 is not expected to take a central stage.
SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies Corporation joined the spaceflight industry long enough to know that the overall success in not defined by a few failures. As such, it has been lobbying to launch spacecraft for big names such as the Pentagon.
Nonetheless, with two failed launches bound for the International Space Station, the opportunity to launch Pentagon’s satellites might be withheld momentarily.
The International Space Station has been waiting for the rockets to successfully reach the compounds as supplies are getting lower. A replenishment is necessary, yet, according to Stephanie Schierholz of NASA, initial water and food supply estimated reported in April were rather conservative.
“We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward”,
read one declaration.
Schierholz added that the International Space Station is supplied having all the contingencies in sight. Falcon 9 was carrying 1,500 pounds of food to the crew, as well as a total of 2 tons of supplies needed on the space station.
Nonetheless, with four months worth of supplies still available to the crew aboard the International Space Station, SpaceX or others will probably get back in the game.
The system has been working with a multitude of actors in the spaceflight arena. If one goes down as it was the case with Falcon 9 and the previous SpaceX rocket, another will likely learn from the mistakes and successfully launch and reach its destination.
It is a risky industry, prone to both glory and miserable failures, yet it is relentlessly evolving using both scenarios as building stones.
Image Source: spacex.com