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SpaceX Falcon 9 failure aftermath is all about what caused it, what are the effects and when is the next resupply mission. SpaceX experienced its first full mission failure on June 28, when its rocket exploded after launch from Florida. Along with the rocket was the Dragon capsule, which was loaded with over 4,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station.
Human Exploration Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier of NASA said that ISS has still enough supply for now. Falcon 9 brought no humans, only the cargo of water, food and science experiments. There were no known ground accidents as well. SpaceX already has six successful resupply missions to space, bringing supplies to the crew inside the ISS.
There is no exact information on what caused the rocket explosion, but CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter, “There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests a counterintuitive cause.” The company was asked at a briefing at NASA if they have changed something in this launch that is different from the other six launches, on which the firm’s President Gwynne Shotwell answered as none.
SpaceX will also do its own investigation, by checking on 3,000 channels that transmitted data during Falcon’s launch. Shotwell said, “If there’s something there, we’re going to find it.”
With regard to the SpaceX Falcon 9 failure aftermath, aside from the next resupply mission, The Verge cites National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, which says that SpaceX reschedules its next Falcon 9 launch, originally set on August 9, to deliver Jason-3 Earth observation satellite. This launch was supposed to be the company’s next test for rocket reusability. The postponement notice came out a day after the Falcon 9 mishap.
The Verge learned that SpaceX, NOAA and NASA are working to come up with a new Falcon 9 rocket launch schedule. NASA and NOAA are not eyeing for another launch provider.
SpaceX failed resupply mission to the ISS is the third, within eight months. In October, a resupply mission from Orbital Sciences failed, which is still under investigation. In May, a mission from Russia was not on the right orbit, and its cargo burned in the atmosphere.
Had it been successful, ISS would have the supplies brought by Falcon on Tuesday. Musk’s company is the first private firm to complete a return trip to the space station, something that only governments have achieved in the past.
The failed resupply mission left the astronauts in ISS with only four months of supplies, instead of the usual six. Russian Progress will launch this Friday, July 3, Russian 60P, to bring water and food to extend ISS supplies by a month. ISS has three astronauts – two Russians, Gennady Padalka, the Russian commander and Mikhail Kornienko, along with an American, NASA’s Scott Kelly, who is also the brother-in-law of Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman of Arizona. Kelly tweeted last Sunday that he watched the launch and said, “Space is hard.”
Kornienko and Kelly are already in space for more than 93 days, while the commander has surpassed the 803-day mark this weekend, breaking a world record for spending the most accumulated time in space. Due to the recent Falcon 9 mishap, concerns about a supply shortage in ISS surfaced. NASA will decide whether or not to bring back the ISS crew safely home should they find no means to support them.
ISS Program Manager Mike Suffredini of NASA said, “we’re not even close to that kind of conversation today given the logistics we have on board.” The program continues to support the ISS crew even if some resupply missions failed, Suffredini added. Now, on SpaceX Falcon 9 failure aftermath, the focus is on the next resupply mission, set this Friday. SpaceX will conduct an internal investigation while delaying their next Falcon 9 launch.
By Judith Aparri
Edited By Leigh Haugh
TechCrunch: Understanding the Aftermath of SpaceX’s Failed Falcon Launch
CNN Money: SpaceX Rocket Explodes After Launch
The Verge: SpaceX Postpones Next Falcon 9 Launch Following Explosion
CBC News: SpaceX Failure Leaves ISS Astronauts With Only 4 Months of Supplies, Not Usual 6
Photo Courtesy of Steve Jurvetson‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License