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SpaceX Falcon 1 on the launchpad - Courtesy SpaceX
After a successful liftoff the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket fell in to the ocean 40 seconds later

SpaceFlightNow.com is reporting that after 20 seconds of successful flight the Falcon 1 rocket began to change trajectory and splashed in to the Pacific Ocean 20 seconds later.  The report claims:

A new breed of low-cost rockets designed to revolutionize the space launch industry met a disastrous fate during its maiden flight Friday, tumbling out of control and slamming into the Pacific Ocean moments after liftoff.

It is unclear as of yet what caused the failure, however there is some speculation that a thermal insulator that was designed to come off during lift-off failed to seperate from the rocket successfully, possibly contributing to its early demise.  Although no official announcement has been posted on the SpaceX website,  Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX had the following to say about todays flight:

"We had a successful liftoff and Falcon made it well clear of the launch pad, but unfortunately the vehicle was lost later in the first stage burn.  More information will be posted once we have had time to analyze the problem."

The onboard video camera showed the rocket began to roll shortly after takeoff after which the video signal cut out. 



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RE: scaled
By Paratus on 3/25/2006 2:49:14 PM , Rating: 2
Of course Scaled can't get anything into orbit......

Just sub-orbital.

Big difference - about 12000mph and 3000C


RE: scaled
By lodine on 3/25/2006 6:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
just seems easier the other way. forgetting increased risk factors, what technically keeps you from mounting a saturn rocket in/under a modified 747 or 380, getting up to 38k-40k, dropping it and then igniting it? I'd imagine that you wou'd see a decent reduction in fuel needed to hit orbit. Though I'll admit that it soundss absolutely insane.....


RE: scaled
By lodine on 3/25/2006 6:52:23 PM , Rating: 2
make that falcon rocket :)


RE: scaled
By squeezee on 3/25/2006 9:05:48 PM , Rating: 2
One word: Thunder-Cougar-Falconbird


RE: scaled
By Fnoob on 3/25/2006 9:37:04 PM , Rating: 2
Right.... FNDunno what the Falcon looks like, but a Saturn 'strapped' to a 747 is similar to a midget cowboy strapped to a T-Rex... both would make for interesting take offs.


RE: scaled
By masher2 (blog) on 3/27/2006 10:49:59 AM , Rating: 2
> "but a Saturn 'strapped' to a 747 is similar to a midget cowboy strapped to a T-Rex"

Um, given the Saturn V would be over 150 longer and weigh ten times as much as the 747, it'd be more like the T-Rex strapped on the back of a cowboy.


RE: scaled
By Fnoob on 3/31/2006 8:48:07 AM , Rating: 2
Dyslexic metaphor - thanks for the correction.



RE: scaled
By Paratus on 3/25/2006 11:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
Uh a 747 can barely pick up an unloaded Space Shuttle. Now you want to ad several million more pounds of fuel and rocket?!


Maybe when combined cycle ( one engine acts as a ramjet -> to scramjet -> to rocket) engines make it off the drawing board using a plane to launch it would help. But in reality it's not the altitude its the speed that's important. You could launch from a weather balloon at 150000 feet but you'd still need to accelerate to 17500mph to make orbit.


RE: scaled
By masher2 (blog) on 3/26/2006 7:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
> what technically keeps you from mounting a saturn rocket in/under a modified 747 or 380, getting up to 38k-40k...

Just to clarify, launch height by itself doesn't help put anything in orbit. It's all velocity based...and the little bit of velocity that a subsonic jet adds isn't that much compared to orbital velocity. You save a little on air resistance at 40K feet, but here also its not a huge benefit.

High-altitude jet launches are very helpful for suborbital launches, but for true space shots, such designs usually add more complexity than they're worth.


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