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Falcon launch in one hour

LOX tanking has just started on SpaceX’s Falcon 1 launch vehicle on the pad at Kwajalein Island. Once you tank up with LOX you are either launching or scrubbing.

Addendum: Now T-18 and all reported good so far…

Addendum: She’s off the pad!!!

Addendum: Video cut out, they may have lost it. Damn! Reports say it was rolling.

Addendum: “Gwynn: I have heard word that we did lose the vehicle. We did have successful liftoff until a minute or two into the flight. As soon as we have information we will post informaiton onto the site. We did lose the feed from Kwajalein; that happens pretty often here. We did have a successful liftoff, but the vehicle did not succeed after that. Clearly this is a setback, but we are here for the long haul.”

Addendum: Here is one of the last photos from the rocket.

19 comments to Falcon launch in one hour

  • toolkien

    All has gone silent

  • toolkien

    2236 GMT (5:36 p.m. EST)

    “We did lose the vehicle,” says Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX vice president of business development.

  • Dale Amon

    I’m waiting to see if anyone got a last second picture… also no word yet as to what happened. If it was spinning, then it may well have been the range safety officer hitting the big red button.

  • Mark McGilvray

    Damn! Now here’s an opportunity squandered. The vehicle should have been tested with Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Senators Feinstein & Boxer aboard. I know this sounds sexist, but there would only have been room for one Teddy Kennedy size payload.

  • Dale Amon

    Nothing official yet. I have been going over the video from the rocket along with some other folks. The velcro blanket on the 1st stage lox tank appears not to have detached at the proper time and may have fallen backwards and caused damage to the engine. Or something else may have caused the sideways thrust visible just before it rolls and pitches.

    I believe controlled thrust termination occured and that the vehicle impacted the water intact. Should be in reasonable sized bits for the failure analysis folks.

    I’ll report back if I hear anything more or garner any new ideas from replaying the video again and again…

  • This whole event is so much more interesting than any recent NASA launches.

    I’m sure they’ll be back soon enough 🙂

  • Mike Lorrey

    Well, it got off the ground, nobody hurt. They’ll figure out from telemetry and forensics what went wrong and fix it next time. I’m just glad it didn’t blow up on the pad. Feel sorry for the cadets who built the satellite though, no joy on the rest of their semester…

  • This is pretty sad, but its to be expected, new rockets do tend to blow up especially ones built from scratch. What is disturbing is that Elon’s money burn rate is pretty strong and that he may find it difficult to keep spending the way he has in the past. I admire his guts, but he may not be able to keep it up and he may find it hard to get new investors to come in.

    One hates to say so, but this may be one of those areas where even billionaries have a hard time matching governments that can replenish their coffers by bleeding the taxpayer.

  • veryretired

    After Sputnik in 1957, the US had a series of failed launches that were very embarrassing. Twelve or so years later, we were walking on the moon.

    These machines are spectacularly complex and fragile, but we know it can be done, even with all the hazards and miscues. They’ll make it, or someone else will.

    Adventure on this scale will always sing the siren’s song to those whose souls are so attuned.

  • James

    Sad news, hopefully they’ll be back in the skies soon.

    Don’t feel too bad, though, there’s a Hyshot test scheduled for tomorrow and another for March 28th.

  • Nick M

    Better luck next time.

  • Obviously it’s a set-back, but not a fatal one. I seem to remember reading that Elon Musk said that he can afford to lose two or three rockets before he has a successful launch. Space flight’s a complex business, Scaled Composites had some problems with SpaceShipOne before they did the X Prize flights. I’m sure SpaceX will be going through all the available data and learning whatever lessons need learning. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long before they try again.

  • Dale Amon

    There seems to be a lot of focus on the velcro’d thermal blanket that did not pull free at liftoff and was flapping about visibly in the on board video just before the spin.

    I have a suspicion they will recover a good bit of the vehicle because the camera on stage 2 just above the interstage seems to have been going until water impact by my own estimation.

  • Mike Lorrey

    Latest report from Elon is that there was a fuel leak in the engine compartment which started a fire that burned through a helium pressure line. Once pressure dropped low enough, the fuel valves automatically closed and shut off the engine.

    Whether this leak was caused by the flapping blanket is unknown. Some wags are joking that apparently Lockheed must have tested its latest anti-missile system a week early…. I’d suggest looking for a United Space Alliance monkey wrench in the sand somewhere near the launch… 😉

  • Patrick

    And still waiting for the analysis on the Hyshot III. We know it crashed, but this one was supposed to!

  • James

    Looks as though Hyshot was successful. Not seeing any data on their site yet though.

  • Andrew Duffin

    “The vehicle did not succeed”

    Nice euphemism for “it blew up”, I suppose…

  • Marcus Lindroos

    I think Clark Lindsey (and Rand Simberg-) are correct about the Falcon-X’s biggest flaw being that it cannot be incrementally tested. E.g. air-launched system such as the X-15 or SpaceShipOne can be recovered more or less like an ordinary aircraft if something goes wrong. In contrast, Musk’s design is basically a recoverable, recyclable ELV … I fear there is a good reason why the Space Shuttle SRB has not proved very economical or all the mainstream ELV manufacturers have rejected recoverable boosters. In some ways, Musk has chosen the worst elements from both worlds (ELVs & RLVs).

    And another thing —

    Damn! Now here’s an opportunity squandered. The vehicle should have been tested with Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Senators Feinstein & Boxer aboard. I know this sounds sexist, but there would only have been room for one Teddy Kennedy size payload.

    I thought this was an aerospace bulletin board, Dale? Or shall we start a “final solution” flame war by listing all the dumb conservative politicians who should have been on that rocket?