Feeds

PayPal founder's private rocket burns, then crashes

SpaceX maiden launch woes

High performance access to file storage

A private rocket designed to revolutionise space transport suffered an embarrassing setback over the weekend. The maiden flight of SpaceX's low-cost Falcon 1 ended in disaster, with the flight not making it past its first stage.

Take-off was at 2230GMT Friday from a launch pad on the Pacific Kwajalein Atoll. Just 25 seconds into the flight onboard cameras showed Falcon 1 spinning out of control shortly before the video feed was lost. SpaceX spokeswoman Gwynn Shotwell told reporters: "We do know that the vehicle did not succeed after that. Clearly this is a setback but we're in this for the long haul."

A fatal fire aboard the paraffin-fired booster is currently the prime suspect. It's thought fuel leaked and caught light around the top of the main engine.

Before Friday's launch attempt, SpaceX claimed it had launch contracts lined up worth nearly $200m by undercutting bigger government-backed space hauliers such as the European Space Agency. For a bargain £3.8m Falcon 1 was attempting to carry a 19.5kg satellite to a low-Earth orbit of 450km.

SpaceX chief and PayPal tycoon Elon Musk said: “I cannot predict exactly when the next flight will take place, as that depends on the findings of this investigation and ensuring that our next customer is comfortable that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure reliability.” ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Saturn spotted spawning new FEMTO-MOON
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.