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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 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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