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Elon Musk’s SpaceX suffered an embarrassing failure on June 28th when its high-profile Falcon-9 rocket exploded some 2 minutes after liftoff. The rocket was carrying a routine delivery of cargo to the International Space Station.
Musk later Tweeted that there was an “over-pressurisation event” in the liquid oxygen tank in the rocket’s 2nd stage. “We do not expect this to have been a first stage issue,” CEO Gwynne Shotwell said at a briefing. “We saw some pressurization indications in the second stage, which we’ll be tracking down and following up on there.” She said she didn’t have additional data about the second stage issue, and declined to speculate on the cause of the failure.
There will now be an investigation which will take a couple of months to resolve. This means that the other commercial flights booked with SpaceX will inevitably be subject to delay.
This is the first failure of a SpaceX Falcon-9 in a successful run of 19 launches.
Upcoming booked launches include SES-9 in August, JCSAT-14 later in the year, Mexsat-2 towards Christmas, Eutelsat 117 West B also towards the end of the year, and ABS 1A also before year-end