On Sunday morning, SpaceX launched its seventh resupply mission to the International Space Station — but about two minutes after launch, the uncrewed Falcon 9 rocket exploded in midair. Here's video of the rocket disintegrating and falling in pieces:
It's unclear what root problem caused the failure, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that excessive pressure in an oxygen tank was involved. This apparently caused the largest component of the rocket — its 138-foot tall first stage — to detach prematurely. SpaceX says it's investigating the problem, which led to the first failure in the 17 launches the company has carried out in its history.
SpaceX was conducting the mission as part of a collaboration with NASA to bring supplies and scientific equipment to the three astronauts currently living on the space station. The failure comes at an inopportune time, with two other recent supply mission failures — by the company Orbital Sciences and the Russianspace agencies — in the last eight months.
Still, the astronauts have several months' worth of food and other supplies, though today's failure will likely disrupt scientific activity on the space station. A Russian resupply capsule is scheduled to be launched July 3.