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A Look at What Was Lost in Falcon 9 Failure

International Docking Adapter. (Credit: NASA)

International Docking Adapter. (Credit: NASA)

A description of what was on board the Dragon supply ship from the CRS-7 Mission Press Kit.


The Dragon spacecraft will be filled with more than 4,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials to support more than 30 student research investigations and more than 35 of approximately 250 science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 44 and 45. Science payloads will offer new insight to combustion in microgravity, perform the first space-based observations of meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere, continue solving potential crew health risks, and make new strides toward being able to grow food in space.

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Video of SpaceX Falcon 9 Failure


SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Breaks Up in Flight


UPDATE 4: Press conference now no earlier than 12:50 pm EDT.

UPDATE 3: Elon Musk has Tweeted that there was an overpressure event in the second stage liquid oxygen tank. More details forthcoming at press conference.

UPDATE 2: NASA has wrapped up its live coverage. Press conference scheduled for not earlier than 12:30 pm EDT. You can watch live at

UPDATE 1: SpaceX has issued the following statement on Twitter: “The vehicle experienced an anomaly on ascent. Team is investigating. Updates to come.”

Elon Musk said on Twitter: “Falcon 9 experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data.”

The last data from the rocket came at 2:19.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket broke up in flight this morning after launch from Cape Canaveral. The launch failure destroyed a Dragon cargo ship headed for the International Space Station.

It’s not clear exactly what happened at this point. The vehicle appeared to break up near the end of the first stage burn. It’s not clear whether the vehicle broke up as a result of a failure, or whether the flight was terminated by the launch range officer on the ground after it started to go off course.

This is the third failure of a supply ship to the International Space Station in eight months. This could place the crew in a precarious situation in terms of supplies.

This was the 19th launch of the Falcon 9. All previously launches had successfully orbited primary payloads. On one launch, a secondary payload was placed in the wrong orbit.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details and follow my reports at

SpaceX to Attempt Recovery of Falcon 9 First Stage on Sunday

Falcon 9 lifts off on CRS-6 mission.

Falcon 9 lifts off on CRS-6 mission.

NASA commercial partner SpaceX currently is targeting Sunday, June 28, for the launch of its seventh cargo delivery to the International Space Station under the agency’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 9 a.m. EDT.

The company’s Falcon 9 rocket will lift off at 10:21 a.m. carrying its Dragon cargo spacecraft to the station from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Dragon spacecraft will be filled with more than 4,000 pounds of supplies and payloads, including critical materials for the science and research investigations that will occur during Expeditions 44 and 45.

SpaceX will once again attempt to land the Falcon 9’s first stage on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean for reuse.

Five European Nations to Improve Space Object Tracking

A sunny day over the UK and Ireland.

A sunny day over the UK and Ireland.

PARIS (UKSA PR) — Five European countries have this week (16 June 2015) agreed to do more to monitor and track space objects and detect their uncontrolled re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.

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Sierra Nevada Matures Dream Chaser Thermal Protection System

Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

Dream Chaser (Credit: NASA)

SPARKS, Nev. (June 26, 2015) – Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has successfully completed several significant Thermal Protection System (TPS) material development tests for its Dream Chaser® spacecraft. The TPS is responsible for protecting crew members and cargo from the high temperatures the spacecraft will experience during re-entry.

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Microsoft HoloLens Headed for Space Station


WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Microsoft are teaming up to develop Sidekick, a new project using commercial technology to empower astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Sidekick uses Microsoft HoloLens to provide virtual aid to astronauts working off the Earth, for the Earth. A pair of the devices is scheduled to launch on SpaceX’s seventh commercial resupply mission to the station on June 28.

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GXLP Update: Audi AG Supports Part-Time Scientists Moon Bid

Part-Time Scientists rover. (Credit: Audi)

Part-Time Scientists rover. (Credit: Audi)

INGOLSTADT, Germany (Audi PR) — Audi is taking off for the moon – along with the Part-Time Scientists. Nearly 45 years after NASA’s Apollo 17 completed the last manned mission to the moon, the cooperating partners have selected the old landing site of Apollo 17 as the new target.

A group of German engineers in the Part-Time Scientists team is working within the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition to transport an unmanned rover to the moon. Audi is supporting the Part-Time Scientists with its know-how in several fields of technology – from quattro all-wheel drive and lightweight construction to electric mobility and piloted driving.

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CSF Hires New Assistant Director


CSF_logo2Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – Jane Kinney will join the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) next week as its new Assistant Director. Kinney’s new appointment follows the departure earlier this month of Sirisha Bandla who left CSF for a new position in the commercial space industry.

Prior to joining CSF, Kinney worked in the space industry including serving as a Flight Controller at the NASA Johnson Space Center where she provided mission operations support to the International Space Station. In addition, she was a systems engineer at Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.

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Russian Space Program Looks to Mass Recruitment, Consolidating Engine Manufacturers



Dmitry Medvedev meets with Igor Komarov. (Credit: Government of Russian Federation)

Dmitry Medvedev meets with Igor Komarov. (Credit: Government of Russian Federation)

A couple of updates from Russia.

Recruitment Drive: Russia’s crumbling, accident prone space program needs to recruit more than 110,000 university graduates over the next 10 years to work in jobs that currently average 44,500 rubles ($820) per month. But not to worry, the Russian government has pledge to double that average wage to $1,640 per month by 2025.

Oh, good luck with that. I’m sure people will be rushing to take jobs where they can be prosecuted and jailed for screwing up and wonder whether their pay is being stolen by their bosses.

Industry Consolidation Continues:  Russia’s rocket production companies will be consolidated under one roof, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said on Wednesday.

“Industry reform means the elimination of redundancies and the strengthening of enterprises’ horizontal connections. And today we have taken the first step toward this,” Komarov told the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper. The consolidation will include NPO Energomash, which makes the RD-180 rocket engine used in United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket.

Any sort of large consolidation is by nature a very messy process that causes a lot of confusion and layoffs while tanking morale until things settle down again. One wonders if this will cause more problems with reliability in the short and even long term.