Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We Lost a Rocket Last Night

We lost an Antares rocket and a Cygnus spacecraft, bound for ISS, last night. About twelve seconds off the pad something went wrong. There seems to have been rapid unscheduled disassembly at the aft end of the launcher, and then the rocket fell back to the ground and exploded.

Throwing hardware out of our gravity well is really, really hard, and this is a reminder. The energies required are immense, yet the builder is required to make the rocket as light as possible

But, we know this is hard. So the United States can also reach ISS with completely different hardware: SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft and Falcon launcher. Russia, the European Union and Japan all have their own spacecraft and launchers as well. Our bench strength is deep.

To watch the launch I stepped out on the patio with my phone to point the way to due south and my laptop to watch the launch until it climbed above the horizon. Space travel is still hard, but we do live in an age of marvels.

No comments: