Elon Musk’s SpaceX has suffered a big failure, with a Falcon 9 on mission CRS-7 blowing up around two minutes into the launch, with a likely full loss of all payload.
The mission was a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) with a Dragon space capsule, carrying a number of small projects as well as supplies for astronauts. More than 30 student research project were lost.
(Jump to about the three minute mark for just the break-up)
Musk took to Twitter to explain:
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
That means what happened wasn’t expected. As everyone can gather from the video, the rocket suffered a loss of pressure in the fuel tanks. At the time, it was around 15km downrange, going 1km per second and was around 35km up in the atmosphere.
It appears the Flight Termination System (FTS) was activated, resulting in the disintegration of the rocket.
FTS is a self-destruct which removes the risk of an out of control rocket.