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OTD: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Exploded Mid-Air With A NASA Mission 9 Years Ago

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On this day nine years ago, SpaceX's first and only in-flight anomaly with the Falcon 9 occurred after the rocket carrying a cargo mission for NASA exploded in mid-air. The launch was carrying SpaceX's Cargo Dragon spacecraft as part of NASA's Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program, and while the Dragon successfully ejected itself from the Falcon 9, the ship's parachutes did not deploy due to software configuration. A NASA investigation later pinned the fault on stainless steel being used inside the ship, and since then, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft has completed dozens of crew and cargo missions to space.

SpaceX's Only Mid-Flight Falcon 9 Launch Failure Took Place On June 28th, 2015

Back then, SpaceX was flying NASA's seventh cargo mission contracted to the Falcon 9 rocket with the Dragon spacecraft. The vehicle was SpaceX's first generation Dragon, and liftoff took place at 9:21 a.m. Eastern time. Things appeared to go smoothly for most of the rocket's ascent portion of the flight. As the Falcon 9 soared to the skies, SpaceX's ground controllers regularly called out nominal milestones.

Related Story SpaceX Might Skip Starship Tower Catch On Flight 5, Says Official

However, two minutes and nineteen seconds into the flight, the rocket was engulfed in smoke and roughly twelve seconds later, debris could be seen flying into the air. The rest of the live stream was quiet, with a SpaceX presenter commenting in the end that "there was some type of anomaly during first stage flight. What we know is that the countdown was satisfactory; we did ignite the nine Merlin engines; we successfully lifted off of the SLC-40 launch pad at Cape Canaveral; we proceeded through the stressing events during flight, went through maximum dynamic pressure, and went supersonic. However it appears that something did occur during first stage operations."

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