|This article contains information about a rocket launch that has recently failed.
Details may change rapidly as details of the failure emerge.
Disintegration of the SpaceX CRS-7 launch vehicle approximately two minutes after liftoff as seen from a NASA tracking camera.
|Mission type||ISS resupply|
|Mission duration||2 minutes 19 seconds
(1 month planned)
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||June 28, 2015, 14:21:11 UTC|
|Rocket||Falcon 9 v1.1|
|Launch site||Cape Canaveral SLC-40|
|Berthing at ISS|
|Berthing port||Harmony nadir|
SpaceX CRS-7 was a private American rocket cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, contracted to NASA, which launched and failed on June 28, 2015. It disintegrated 139 seconds into the flight after launch from Cape Canaveral, just before the first stage was to separate from the second stage. It was the ninth flight for SpaceX's uncrewed Dragon cargo spacecraft and the seventh SpaceX operational mission contracted to NASA under a Commercial Resupply Services contract. The vehicle, like all Dragon spacecraft, launched on the Falcon 9 v1.1. It was the nineteenth overall flight for the Falcon 9 and the fourteenth flight for the substantially upgraded Falcon 9 v1.1.
In January 2015, the launch was tentatively scheduled by NASA for no earlier than June 13, 2015. This was adjusted to June 22, 2015, then moved forward to June 19, 2015 and adjusted again to June 26, 2015. Subsequently, the launch had been rescheduled to June 28, 2015 at 14:21:11 UTC, from Cape Canaveral LC-40. The launch was scheduled to be the third controlled-descent and landing test for the Falcon 9's first stage. It would have attempted to land on a new autonomous drone ship named Of Course I Still Love You – named after a ship in the novel The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks. The spacecraft was planned to stay in orbit for five weeks before returning to Earth with approximately 1,400 pounds (640 kg) of supplies and waste.
As of July 2013[update], the first International Docking Adapter, IDA-1, was scheduled to be delivered to the International Space Station on CRS-7. This adapter would have been attached to one of the existing Pressurized Mating Adapters (specifically, PMA-2 or PMA-3) and convert the existing APAS-95 docking interface to the new NASA Docking System (NDS). The new adapter is intended to facilitate future docking of new U.S. human-transport spacecraft. Previous United States cargo missions since the retirement of the Space Shuttle have been berthed, rather than docked, while docking is considered the safer and preferred method for spacecraft carrying humans.
Detailed payload manifest
A full listing of the cargo aboard the failed mission included the following items:
- Crew Supplies — 690 kilograms (1,520 lb)
- 92 Food Bulk Overwrap Bags, 2 Bonus Food Kits, 2 Fresh Food Kits
- Crew Provisions, Crew Care, Operations data file
- Utilization — 573 kilograms (1,263 lb)
- Canadian Space Agency: Vascular Echo Exercise Band
- European Space Agency: Circadian Rhythms, KUBIK EBOXes, Interface Plate, EPO Peake, BioLab, Spheroids, EMCS RBLSS, Airway Mon., LiOH Cartridge
- Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency: Atomization, Biological Rhythms, Multi-omics, Cell Mechanosensing 3, Plant Gravity Sensing 3, SAIBO L&M, Space Pup, Stem Cells, MSPR LM, Group Combustion Camera
- US: 2 Polars, 6 DCBs and Ice Bricks, 1 MERLIN, FCF/HRF Resupply, HRP Resupply [Kits, MCT, Microbiome, Twin Studies], IMAX Camera, Meteor, Micro-9, MSG Resupply, NanoRacks Modules & 0.5 NRCSD #7, Universal Battery Charger, Veg-03, Microbial Observatory-1, Microchannel Diffusion Experiment, Wetlab RNA Smartcycler, SCK, Story Time, MELFI TDR Batteries
- Computer Resources — 36 kilograms (79 lb)
- Vehicle Hardware — 462 kilograms (1,019 lb)
- CHECS CMS: HRM Watches, Bench Lock Studs, Glenn Harness for Kelly, Kopra and Peake
- CHECS EHS: CO2 Monitoring Assemblies, Filter Assemblies, CSA-CP/CDM Battery Assemblies, SIECE Cartridge Assemblies, Water Kit, Petri Dish Packets
- CHECS HMS: IMAKs, Oral Med Packs
- C&T: C2V2 Communications Unit (and HTV-5 Unit Data Converter)
- ECLSS: 3 Pretreat Tanks, Filter Inserts, 9 KTOs, UPA FCPA, CDRS ASV, IMV Valve, Wring Collector, Water Sampling Kits, OGS ACTEX Filter, ARFTA Brine Filter Assemblies, O2/N2 Pressure Sensor, NORS O2 Tank, **3 PBA Assemblies, 2 MF Beds, 2 Urine Receptacles, Toilet Paper Packages, H2 Sensor, Ammonia Cartridge Bag, PTU XFER Hose
- EPS: 2 Avionics Restart Cables
- Makita Drill, PWD Filter, N3 Bulkhead Connectors, Yellow/Red Adapters, IWIS Plates, 6.0 & 4.0 Waste Xfer Bags, BEAM Ground Straps, JEM Stowage Wire Kit
- EVA Hardware — 167 kilograms (368 lb)
- SEMU, REBA, EMU Ion Filters (4), Equipment Tethers, Gas Grap, EMU Mirrors, Crew Lock Bags, SEMU arms/legs
- Lindgren/Yui ECOKs & CCAs, Lindgren LCVG
- Kelly LCVG, Padalka EMU Gloves
- Russian Cargo
- Russian Segment Torque Wrench
- Unpressurized Cargo — 526 kilograms (1,160 lb)
The mission would have carried more than 4,000 pounds (1,800 kg) of supplies and experiments to the International Space Station including the Meteor Composition Determination investigation which would have observed meteors entering the Earth's atmosphere by taking high resolution photos and videos. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space had arranged for it to carry more than 30 student research projects to the station including experiments dealing with pollination in microgravity as well as an experiment to evaluate a sunlight blocking form of plastic.
The vehicle's second stage failed with a measured overpressure at T+02:19, well after max Q (at T+01:26) and before first stage engine shutdown (MECO, scheduled at T+02:45). The second stage developed a very large LOX leak, releasing large clouds of vapor while the first stage continued to thrust stably on course for about 9 seconds, until it disintegrated at T+02:28. Aircraft were sent to the debris area in the Atlantic Ocean and an investigation is ongoing. It was the first Falcon 9 failure in the 19 launches of the rocket type. According to the founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk, "[The] Falcon 9 [launch vehicle] experienced a problem shortly before first stage shutdown. Will provide more info as soon as we review the data." He added: "There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause." The Dragon capsule survived the initial incident and continued to transmit telemetry for a time afterwards, though the final status of the capsule is not currently known.
It is not clear if the destruction of the first stage was due to the flight termination system. If so, it would have been activated automatically by on-board sensors. The Eastern Range's range safety officer did transmit a remote destruct signal, but only as a formality; sent 70 seconds after the mishap; there was nothing left to destroy.
On July 5th, 2015, Elon Musk posted that "[SpaceX expects] to reach preliminary conclusions regarding last flight by end of week. Will brief key customers & FAA, then post on our website."
Planned post-launch flight test
After the second stage separation, SpaceX planned to conduct a flight test and attempt to return the Falcon 9's nearly-empty first stage through the atmosphere and land it on a 90-by-50-meter (300 ft × 160 ft) floating platform barge. SpaceX calls the barge an autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS), and this particular mission's ASDS was named Of Course I Still Love You.
This would have been SpaceX's third attempt to land the booster on a floating platform after earlier tests in January 2015 and April 2015 were not successful. The boosters were fitted with a variety of technologies to facilitate the flight test, including grid fins and landing legs to facilitate the post-mission test.
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- SpaceX CRS-7 Launch. SpaceX. 2015-06-28. The animated launch timeline can be seen passing Max-Q (T+01:26) at 22:51 – via YouTube. Likewise, MECO can be seen at T+02:45.
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Post failure notes are yet to clarify if the FTS was used during the Falcon 9 failure.
- Cowing, Keith (June 29, 2015). "SpaceX Falcon 9 Mishap: More Details Emerge". SpaceRef.com. Retrieved 2015-06-30.
SpaceX now confirms that the U.S. Air Force Range Safety Officer did initiate a destruct command, but that this command was sent 70 seconds after the mishap occurred, as a formal matter of process. There was nothing left to destroy at that point. NASA Public Affairs had originally told SpaceRef yesterday that there had been no such command issued by the USAF.
- Musk, Elon. "Elon Musk on Twitter: "Expect to reach preliminary conclusions regarding last flight by end of week. Will brief key customers & FAA, then post on our website."".
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