SpaceX Experimental Vehicle Destroyed During Test

SpaceX Experimental Vehicle Destroyed During Test

An experimental SpaceX reusable rocket exploded in flight yesterday (August 22) when an automated system detected an anomaly and terminated the mission.   The “F9R Dev1” vehicle was part of the company’s Grasshopper series designed to demonstrate vertical take-off and landing.

SpaceX founder and Chief Designer Elon Musk tweeted “Three-engine F9R vehicle auto-terminated during test flight.  No injuries or near injuries.  Rockets are tricky…”   A video posted on YouTube and by a CBS TV affiliate shows the launch and explosion (it is not clear who took the video).

SpaceX tweeted a statement that said “During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission.  Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area….An FAA representative was present at all times.”   The test took place at the company’s McGregor, TX facility.

SpaceX has become well known for its Falcon 9 rocket used for cargo flights to the International Space Station and launches of commercial satellites.  It is only one of the company’s efforts, however.  Developing reusable rockets and spacecraft is a major goal.  Several Grasshopper tests have taken place successfully already.   SpaceX’s statement described yesterday’s test as “particularly complex, pushing the vehicle further than any previous test.” 


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