- Posted August 22, 2014 by
SpaceX's Test Rocket Explodes (Grasshopper) In McGregor, TX
Elon Musk's Spacex Developmental rocket exploded in the skies of McGregor, Tx this evening at approximately 6pm CST No injuries or casualties have been reported yet. Witnesses say the F9R (grasshopper) lost control and ended up in a horizontal position shortly before it exploded in mid air. Sources say Elon Musk was present at the test site along with some of Spacex's board of directors, a congressman, officials from the department of defense and George P. Bush, former govener Jeb Bush's son. Witnesses took to twitter described hearing a very loud blast and the smell of rocket fuel in the air after the explosion. More to update as the story unfolds.
Update- Sources say the one of merlin M1D liquid fueled propulsion engines failed to ignite properly which caused the rocket to veer out of control. Once the unmanned rockets tragectory had changed the vehicles auto-termination device activated and self distructed to avoid potential catastrophic collateral damage.
"During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission," Taylor said in a statement. according to Spaceflightnow.com
Elon Musk and Space Exploration Technologies have been developing rapid reusability technology to lower the cost of space travel. Test failures such as the one that occured today are unfortunately a common circumstance in research and development process.
This is SpaceX first catastrophic loss of test vehicle since they have been launching Falcon 9 and dragon payloads to the international space station since COTS Demo in May 22, 2012