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Falcon 9 'suffers anomaly,' fails to reach ISS

By Andrew V. Pestano
1/19
Falcon 9 'suffers anomaly,' fails to reach ISS
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explodes shortly after liftoff at 10:21 AM from Complex 40 at at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on June 28, 2015. The objective of the launch was to send supplies to the International Space Station. Photo by Joe Marno-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 28 (UPI) -- SpaceX's reusable rocket, the Falcon 9, on Sunday suffered its third failed, fiery attempt to launch for outer space and return to land on a drone ship.

NASA held a joint press conference with SpaceX representatives about the rocket's failure.

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SpaceX, owned by Elon Musk, launched the Falcon 9 at 10:21 a.m. The main objective of the mission was to deliver a SpaceX Dragon capsule to the International Space Station as part of a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.

"Up until 139 seconds into that flight we experienced an anomaly, which led to a failure of the mission," SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said. "We are obviously collecting data."

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Shotwell added that there were signs of pressurization and that no safety issues were reported.

William H. Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for human exploration and operations at NASA, said that it is a "tough day."

"This is not where I wanted to be on a Sunday afternoon," Gerstenmaier said. "It's a pretty important loss."

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Supplies at the International Space State are adequate, but there was a significant loss of research equipment, including a space suit. Gerstenmaier added that "the crew's in no danger."

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The Falcon 9's nine Merlin engines ignited, went through maximum dynamic pressure and went supersonic before the rocket exploded, a SpaceX spokesman said during a live webcast.

"There was some type of anomaly during first-stage flight," the SpaceX spokesman said, also stating SpaceX engineers will review data.

The Dragon capsule was filled with more than two and a half tons of supplies.

NASA released a statement on the Falcon 9's loss.

"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," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement. "We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight. The commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles. We will continue operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we continue to use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system."

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