Yesterday's SpaceX launch

Yesterday's SpaceX launch

A couple things on the SpaceX launch yesterday, first truly sorry for the failure, 18 successes and then this happened. I am very much for SpaceX, the truly innovative space company today. I was reading up on the Falcon 9 rocket and ran across this bit:

“Following the September 2013 launch, the second stage igniter propellant lines were insulated to better support in-space restart following long coast phases for orbital trajectory maneuvers.[34] Further improvements are planned for mid 2015 including uprated engine thrust, increased propellant capacity by deep chilling the propellant and propellant tank volume increase.[59]"

[59]Musk, E. (March 1, 2015) "Upgrades in the works to allow landing for geo missions: thrust +15%, deep cryo oxygen, upper stage tank vol +10%"

Interesting to note Elon Musk making a first twitter ‘There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.’

One could read a lot into that, possibly the upper stage had the old tank, but the updated software believe it be a new tank. The tank blew once the rocket reached super sonic speed. Of course the real answer is forthcoming. Just speculation, but interesting!

Regardless, SpaceX will live through this; making them a stronger, more cautious, and an even a greater successful flyer.

carlgo | June 29, 2015

It was a shock to us all because of the way SpaceX does things and the many successes. You can say it makes them stronger, and it can, but still a bummer. And of course we all looked forward to sticking the landing.

Ankit Mishra | June 29, 2015

I noticed two white flares when the rocket was at 1.1 km and 290 m/sec. I have never noticed those flares from the top portion of rocket in previous launches. The intial explosion i.e white cloud also took place at the same spot.

Grinnin'.VA | June 29, 2015

@ jgreelis | June 29, 2015 [re: Yesterday's SpaceX launch]

The tank blew once the rocket reached super sonic speed.

I watched the video. It seemed to me that there were several seconds delay after it reached supersonic speed before it exploded. Can you please confirm?

rlwrw | June 30, 2015

The event occurred after Max Q, which is after supersonic. However, Max Q could have been a contributor.
In stepping frame by frame through the videos, it appears that the outer rupture started right around the trunk, just above the 2nd stage.
Max Q = maximum dynamic pressure on the vehicle.
The venting that ankitmishra noticed seemed unusual to me, too.
There is speculation all over the aerospace websites that the IDA came loose, fell against, and ruptured the second stage LOX (liquid oxygen) tank.

Brian H | June 30, 2015

Interesting that the Dragon survived the explosion and continued transmitting a while.

rlwrw | June 30, 2015

@Brian H
There is strong speculation that the Dragon capsule can be seen falling away from the stack before the final explosion in all of the videos.
This would make sense.
If the trunk/adapter ring between the Dragon and second stage was blown away, the Dragon capsule would have had a rough, but otherwise soft enough release to keep it intact.
It does appear that if the object is the Dragon capsule, the trunk was no longer attached.

JLC | June 30, 2015

Can anyone give me a link to these aerospace website discussions. Several google searches for them were surprisingly unsuccessful. Thanks in advance.

Remnant | June 30, 2015

@ JLC (June 30, 2015)

<< Can anyone give me a link to these aerospace website discussions. >>

JLC | June 30, 2015


Brian H | June 30, 2015 | July 3, 2015

Adding to Elon's woes, fickle NASA has starting looking into a Chinese rocket startup with a unique approach:

Captain_Zap | July 4, 2015


That won't last long. Boeing lost a bid for air re-rueling tankers to a company overseas. It was later determined to be a security issue by Congress. Boeing got the job in the end. Washington State Senators fought the decision and they ended up getting the contract back in the US. | July 4, 2015

Watch the video before you reply, Cap'n. :-))

Brian H | July 4, 2015

Wheep, wheep, wheep, wheep ...

jgreelis | July 6, 2015

The Florida Today newspaper confirmed what I thought probably happened, USAF Range Safety sent the destruct signal which destroyed the Falcon 9 and consequently took the second stage with it. It appears the second stage separated either by itself or because of the failure but never fired. Normally the second stage, through thrusters, pushes the booster off to the side before it fires, so not to destroying any of the Falcon 9. The article stated they had some problem with this 2nd stage in CRS6 but was able to work through it. They did not go into detail.

The Air Force was concerned about the 2nd stage being unsafe, the Falcon 9 was done or almost done; depending upon where the explosives were they wanted to destroy everything. This probably doesn’t help SpaceX in their investigation – no major pieces left.

This incident is not going to hurt SpaceX one bit, they very popular and no rocket company has ever had a perfect record. When one sees what is involved in this technology, it is a wonder we have had the success we experienced in the past. It is truly an astounding achievement to these people to be able to fly these machines – go SpaceX! (at least until I get teleportation working!)

EcLectric | July 13, 2015

After reading through this:

a little, it's hard to believe you can launch LOX in a rocket without it exploding! There are so many potential problems.

sbeggs | July 13, 2015


Your typical summer reading?

Homebrook | July 13, 2015 That is one of the _Thai_ spinning rockets fired off at their annual bamboo rocket festival. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun and so dangerous we would never see one launched here in the safety crazy US. The spectators watch from several hundred yards away for good reason. Light that baby and run like your life depends on it...
Credit where credit is due...

rlwrw | July 14, 2015

Elon tweeted that preliminary results were to be released around the end of last week after clients were informed.
The delay seems to indicate to me that somebody does not like what is going to be released, and is trying to put a spin on the news that will minimize fallout. It may not necessarily be SpaceX, but could also be a sub-contractor or even a payload contractor.
I was even suspecting that the news release would happen just before Pluto and the launches tomorrow so that this news would be quickly overshadowed by the Pluto and new launches news.
Then, again, this speculation over the news release delay may be much ado about nothing.

Captain_Zap | July 16, 2015


You got me.

rlwrw | July 17, 2015

Elon tweeted just this morning:
"Model S product call at 11 today. Rocket discussion at noon on Monday."
Rocket "discussion" does not necessarily imply a public announcement. It could mean a private, closed door discussion with certain industry people.
As for the model S product call? Stay tuned.