Second catastrophic failure in recent months of a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station has once again left astronauts without new supplies, including food, science experiments and computers.
SpaceX‘s Dragon cargo capsule, filled with 4,000 pounds of supplies, lifted off Sunday morning on the back of a Falcon 9 rocket. Less than three minutes later, it exploded in mid-air making what was the private space company’s seventh mission to the International Space Station a total loss.
The loss of Dragon comes just two months after Russia‘s Progress 59 failed on its cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The spacecraft entered into an uncontrolled spin shortly after launch and days later burned up when it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere.
Cause still unknown after several thousand engineering-hours of review. Now parsing data with a hex editor to recover final milliseconds.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 29, 2015
Despite the losses of two consecutive missions, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said astronauts have enough supplies to last them for the next several months.
“We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. However, the astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months,” he said in a statement. “We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight.”
Watched #Dragon launch from @space_station Sadly failed Space is hard Teams assess below @NASAKennedy #YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/myi3col5Ix
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) June 28, 2015
Both failures make the next resupply mission set for July 3 especially crucial. The next mission will be carried out by a Russian Progress spacecraft, while a Japanese cargo flight is set for August.
Orbital ATK, which lost its Cygnus vehicle during an explosion in October, is also set for a launch later this year, according to NASA.
Source: ABC News – Technology What SpaceX Failure Means For Astronauts