Feeds

Third time unlucky for Elon Musk's Falcon rocket

Volcano lair rather than space station for now

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

SpaceX, the commercial space launch company run by PayPal multimillionaire and tech visionary Elon Musk, has suffered another technical hitch. The third test flight of the Falcon 1 rocket has been unsuccessful, after the upper stage failed to separate properly from the lower.

"It was obviously a big disappointment not to reach orbit on this flight," said Musk in an online statement at the weekend.

"On the plus side, the flight of our first stage, with the new Merlin 1C engine that will be used in Falcon 9, was picture perfect. Unfortunately, a problem occurred with stage separation, causing the stages to be held together. This is under investigation and I will send out a note as soon as we understand exactly what happened."

The two previous launches of Falcon 1 both failed as well. The most recent suffered separation issues like those seen at the weekend, and the first caught fire and crashed.

SpaceX also plans a larger and more powerful system, the Falcon 9, intended to fly next year. This rocket could one day be man-rated, and carry astronauts into orbit in SpaceX's Dragon capsule.

"The primary design driver," of the Falcon rockets, according to SpaceX, "is and will remain reliability."

Musk is also now the undisputed chief at well-known electric vehicle firm Tesla Motors, following boardroom battles last year. He owns the first Tesla Roadster battery supercar, and is apparently to personally sculpt the bodywork of its more affordable, more mass-market successor. (This follows an acrimonious dispute with car designer Henrik Fisker, who Musk says deliberately palmed off Tesla with an inferior design before leaving to start his own electrocar firm. The argument is now in the Californian courts.)

Answering speculation as to the effect of the latest Falcon 1 failure on SpaceX's future Musk remains upbeat, saying that he has recently accepted a large financial contribution from an unnamed investor and that the firm's ambitious launch schedule will proceed unaffected.

"I will never give up and I mean never," he writes. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.