A SpaceX rocket exploded earlier this week, during launch tests. The explosion took place on the launch pad in Cape Carnaval. The rocket was supposed to lift a Facebook satellite, that would offer internet access to sub-Saharan Africa. The satellite was destroyed during the explosion.
The blast occurred on Launch Complex 40, a US Army Air Base that SpaceX had rented. The facility itself was not damaged in the explosion.
Since 2010, SpaceX has launched 25 rockets from this site. The rockets were used to carry supplies to the International Space Station.
NASA’s launch schedule didn’t change as a result of the incident. Later this week, they are planning to send a probe to a nearby asteroid. The probe will bring samples from the asteroid back to Earth. The launch will take place from the adjacent Launch Complex 41.
After the explosion, Zuckerberg posted on Facebook, and mentioned that he regrets the fact that “SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite.”
Musk has not replied to the comment so far.
But in spite of the fact that the adjacent facilities didn’t suffer any damage, this could disrupt NASA’s plans later on. SpaceX is run by Ellon Musk. The explosion of the SpaceX rocket has set him back millions of dollars.
Lately, NASA has been relying increasingly more on private contractors to deliver resources to the International Space Station. It may be a while until Musk’s company recovers from this incident.
Not The First Time a SpaceX Rocket Encountered Problems
Some experts are now wondering whether or not the pioneer business owner, Elon Musk, is moving too fast with his projects. Some believe Musk has bitten off more than he can chew. With a backlog of contracts that have to be fulfilled that spans years, it’s nearly impossible not to cut corners. Because of this, some errors are bound to happen.
The SpaceX rocket Falcon 9 model had encountered issues in the past as well. In June 2015, a rocket that was supposed to bring NASA supplies to the International Space Station fell apart during the flight. Its slow midair disintegration eventually caused it to explode as well.
Both Tesla and SolarCity, his two other major projects, have had setbacks. The driver of a Tesla car died in an accident, earlier this year, while using the autopilot feature. And SolarCity is in a major financial crisis.
According to Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, and a former NASA official, SpaceX’s launch schedule is “punishing”. Among other things, Musk is determined to send a manned mission to Mars by 2025. Even without these incidents looming above his head, it would still have been an incredibly ambitious plan.
So far, it’s still unclear what led to the explosion of the SpaceX rocket. Pace speculates there might be some human error involved. Apparently, the company is pushing itself employees much too hard, to launch as many rockets as they can. An internal investigation will begin to determine the cause, or causes of the incident.
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