It was a scary Friday night for SpaceX as one of its Falcon 9R rockets exploded shortly after launching during a test flight.
SpaceX told us an “anomaly” was found as the rocket was heading up into the air, and the flight termination system automatically ended the mission. Nobody was hurt, and SpaceX said the flight stayed inside its designated area the entire time.
Elon Musk responded shortly after with this tweet:
Three engine F9R Dev1 vehicle auto-terminated during test flight. No injuries or near injuries. Rockets are tricky …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2014
We’re not sure right now exactly what made this particular flight so “tricky,” but SpaceX may be trying to put the crash in context so it doesn’t seem as catastrophic as one might imagine.
Spokesman John Taylor said in a statement this was a research and development project designed to detect anomalies so SpaceX can learn more about the rocket. And this test was a particularly tough one, he said, “pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test.”
Despite the casual nature of the response, this is still one of the more public failures for the company. People will be paying close attention to SpaceX’s findings on what actually went wrong.
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