SpaceX – the Anatomy of an Explosion

Yesterday an unmanned Falcon-9 SpaceX rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida. All seemed to go well. At first…

Here’s a super-slow-motion video of the terrifying explosion that engulfed and destroyed the rocket:

I’m no rocket scientist – and no doubt a full expert analysis of this event will be published before too long – but it does seem clear that the problem originated in the Stage 2 rocket. I fancy I can see something happen near the top of the rocket just before the main explosion started.

It’s not easy putting things into space, but we shouldn’t stop doing things just because they’re hard.


7 Responses to “SpaceX – the Anatomy of an Explosion”

  1. Chris Chaloner Says:

    To repeat the trueism – rocket science is easy; it’s rocket engineering that is difficult.

    • Phillip Helbig Says:

      Just by chance, I was reading a transcript of an Allan Sandage interview today, to which I was alerted by the excellent Whewell’s ghost. Sandage confirmed the view that Hubble saw himself, despite his overblown ego, essentially as an observer, but a very good one, capable of things no-one else could do, due to patience, experience, and hard work. So, very much the engineer rather than the scientist. I noted the following quote, since it is so good: “We never really did talk about cosmological models.” 🙂

      • telescoper Says:

        I’ve heard it said that the most important characteristic that Hubble possessed was not patience but an extremely strong bladder which allowed him to stay all night at the telescoper in the cold, without having to go for a wee.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        That was part of it. It was also one of Sandage’s strengths. By the time Sandage was working on the 200-inch, there was an intercom system. Tammann used to turn on the tap slightly so that one could hear the water falling into the basin then pipe the sound up to Sandage after he had been in the cage for a few hours.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        Another famous astronomer famously died of a burst bladder, so the story goes: “According to Kepler’s first hand account, Tycho had refused to leave the banquet to relieve himself because it would have been a breach of etiquette.”

        While we’re on the subject of pogonophilia, I’m happy to report that I appear to be approaching the Brahe beard. :-

        I doubt that WordPress will properly replace the Brahe-beard smiley with the appropriate image.

      • Phillip Helbig Says:

        Another try:


  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    Sorry astronomers but I love these rocket fail videos when nobody gets killed.

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