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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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By stephenbrooks on 3/25/2006 2:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
To be honest I'd expect a fair number of failures while in real-world operation for anything this complex before it's completely ironed out. A crash doesn't necessarily mean something's fundamentally wrong, perhaps just a certain component needs replacing. Just as well each rocket is low cost :)




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