An unmanned SpaceX rocket exploded just two minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Sunday, June 28. It destroyed a cargo ship bound for the International Space Station making it the latest in a string of mishaps.
The 63 meters Falcon 9 rocket had flown 18 times previously since its 2010 debut, every time successfully. Those missions included six station cargo runs for NASA under a 15 flight contract worth more than $2 billion.Sunday’s accident was the second successive botched mission to resupply the space station. A Russian Progress cargo ship failed to reach the outpost in April following a problem with its Soyuz launcher.
The cause of Sunday’s explosion was not yet clear, officials said. An investigation into the explosion will ground the Falcon 9 rockets for “a number of months or so” but less than a year, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told the news conference. Two previous experiments, in January and April, came close to succeeding but technical problems caused the rockets to crash into the platform.
Here is a look at a few pictures of the explosion :
The Dragon capsule was loaded with 2,477 kg of food, clothing, equipment and science experiments for the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 420 km above Earth.Equipment lost aboard Dragon included a spacesuit, water filtration equipment, an oxygen tank and a docking system so space taxis under development by SpaceX and Boeing can park at the station.