Space X’s Falcon 9 rocket explodes on launchpad
Just when things looked to be coming up aces for SpaceX following their first successful drone ship landing back in early April, the Elon Musk-run private space outfit has hit an unfortunate snag. Early Thursday morning, SpaceX attempted to fire off a rocket in what was expected to be a routine launch, but which in fiery disaster.
The explosion happened on SpaceX’s launchpad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, as the Falcon 9 rocket was prepared to take off on Saturday morning to deliver an Israeli-made Spacecom communication satellite, which also went up in flames along with the Falcon 9 rocket during the test firing. While the physical loss is certainly debilitating for SpaceX and Spacecom in terms of physical capital, the financial loss could be non-existent, as most space enterprises have more than their fair share of insurance.
Outside of the Israeli satellite, another lost cargo piece on board was a satellite aimed to be launched by Facebook as the social media giant works to bring free Internet to Africa. Mark Zuckerberg released a statement expressing Facebook’s disappointment in the failed launch, but assured that Facebook would not cease in their efforts to connect the world via the Internet.
Realistically, despite the huge insurance buffers and understanding nature of its clients despite their losses, SpaceX stands to suffer the biggest loss, as their launchpad experienced crushing damage from the explosion. Granted, the company has operation sites outside of Cape Canaveral, in including at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, which will be the site of the company’s next launch later this month.
That being said, this most recent explosion could scale back the “full steam ahead” schedule of launches SpaceX had planned. They currently have 8 launches prepared between now and the end of the year. Whether or not this most recent SpaceX explosion will affect plans remains to be unseen. While the cause of the explosion is unknown, this is certainly going to throw a wrench in the future of privatized space exploration, especially when considering the fact that if the reason for the failed launch is some sort of oversight, it would confirm skeptics’ theories that no space outfit outside of NASA should be involved in space exploration.
While SpaceX is not folding completely, the explosion will most definitely halt operations for the immediate future, and undoubtedly morph plans into something slightly less intrepid.