SpaceX Failure: A Drawback for Astronauts at International Space Station Program

On Space X’s launch on Sunday, more than two tons of supplies, including 1,500 pounds of food and provisions for the crew onboard the ISS , were loaded in the spacecraft. However, just  2.5 minutes into the flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at an altitude around 27 miles,  the rocket disintegrated and exploded over the Atlantic Ocean.

“The longer they wait to launch again, the more people start talking about  [how] maybe we were too overconfident about SpaceX, ‘” a NASA official told AFP. Captured on the live television images from Space X’s webcast and NASA television were smoke emitted from the spacecraft followed by pieces of the rocket falling.

SpaceX  founder Elon Musk tweeted  hours after the explosion, pointing to the possibility of “pressure problems in the second stage’s liquid oxygen tank.”  He refused to go into detail though, reasoning, “That’s all we can say with confidence right now.  We will work closely with SpaceX to recognize what happened, fix the problem and return to flight.” He also added “[that] the company had followed all procedures with respect to safety.”

Media contacted astronauts and space experts for their comments on what probably went wrong in the SpaceX mission.  On a video chat via Periscope, retired Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield, pitched in his two cents’ worth on the risks and rewards of spaceflight. Another personality that was reached by news agencies for his opinion was retired space expert John Logsdon, “It’s logical, like the board game Clue,” the space expert said.  Logsdon sat as member of the board that investigated the 2003 space shuttle Columbia accident.

This is not the first time that a spacecraft launch went wrong.  In late April, the Russian Federation had to abort an ISS-bound trip after its spacecraft “lost control.”  The said mission was supposed to transport 3 tons of cargo (25-hundred kilograms of food, equipment, and science experiments) to the ISS.

The seven SpaceX supply runs, on the other hand, were successful.  However, the three failed flights are putting the NASA rocket technology in question.  People now begin to question the safety of USA rockets in carrying astronauts to space.

“Space is hard,” says NASA’s Suffredini, “but we always have a vehicle there that can bring them home safely.”

SpaceX mission has been carrying some of the space agency’s resupply missions to the worldwide Space Station.

Meanwhile, several supply launch missions are lined up for the succeeding months.  The Russian Federation will launch its spacecraft on Friday from Kazakhstan. In August, a Japanese resupply ship shall take off.