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Space Vehicle Engineered In South Bay Blew Up

Another supply mission, atop a different company's Progress launch vehicle, is scheduled for launch July 3.
Another supply mission, atop a different company’s Progress launch
vehicle, is scheduled for launch July 3.

A space vehicle engineered in the South Bay blew up
as it was being launched from Florida today, a setback for Hawthorne-based SpaceX.

The second stage of the rocket failed 139 seconds after takeoff, after the first stage performed normally, said SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, at a NASA news conference.

“ We are working to identify the issue, to fix it, and get back to flying,” Shotwell said.

Amid items lost were a docking adapter, a space suit and important experiments, NASA officials said.

“We lost a lot of research,” one said, including student experiments. SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that an upper-satge liquid oxygen tank and “an overpressure event” and the “data suggests (a) counterintuitive cause.”

Another supply mission, atop a different company’s Progress launch vehicle, is scheduled for launch July 3. NASA officials said there was sufficient food, water and fuel on board the ISS for the time being.

At 7:21 a.m., a SpaceX vehicle with a Dragon 9 capsule — loaded with 4,300 pounds of goods — was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. At first stage separation, 2 minutes and 19 seconds into the flight, it disintegrated.

More than 3,000 employees, most in the South Bay, work on the Dragon 9 rocket, a new reusable space delivery system designed to replace the now- retired fleet of Space Shuttles. SpaceX is one of two private U.S. firms with NASA contracts to deliver groceries and scientific equipment to the
International Space Station in low Earth orbit.

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