SpaceX Test Rocket Fails in Texas Flight
A development SpaceX rocket failed during a test flight in McGregor, Texas on Friday.
BuzzFeed collected several pictures of the incident, which appear to show a midair explosion, from the social media accounts of people reportedly on the scene.
The rocket in question was a three-engine version of the F9R test vehicle, a successor to SpaceX’s Grasshopper rocket.
In a statement, the Hawthorne, Calif. private space flight company acknowledged the flight was terminated, but stressed it posed no danger and represented a normal part of the research and development process.
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. There were no injuries or near injuries. An FAA representative was present at all times.
With research and development projects, detecting vehicle anomalies during the testing is the purpose of the program. Today’s test was particularly complex, pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test. As is our practice, the company will be reviewing the flight record details to learn more about the performance of the vehicle prior to our next test.
SpaceX will provide another update when the flight data has been fully analyzed.
SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk also addressed the incident on Twitter:
Three engine F9R Dev1 vehicle auto-terminated during test flight. No injuries or near injuries. Rockets are tricky …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2014