When the SpaceX rocket exploded for the third time on Sunday 28 June, a lot of people were disappointed. We'll admit, we got a serious case of the sads when we heard the launch failed. But as Destin explains in the latest episode of SmarterEveryDay, to mourn the death of another SpaceX dream is to be missing the point entirely. And he should know - his day job is literally testing rockets.
"I've been reading a lot lately about the SpaceX launch failure and I'm not very happy about the 'sad' tone. I think this failure could end up being a really good thing because we're going to learn more about our systems. I'm very optimistic about this. When I test rockets, I always learn MUCH MUCH more from failures than from successes. I think this is no different. They're going to go through everything with a fine tooth comb and do their best to fix the problem and even improve other potential issues. This could be a really good thing!!"
So what can we learn from these failures? In the video above, Destin runs us through the three failures that have occurred to date. The first failure was in the vehicle carrying the Cygnus spacecraft - an automated cargo holder developed by the Orbital Sciences Corporation as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services. The plan was for the vehicle to deliver goods to the International Space Station (ISS), but it barely got off the ground.
The second failure occurred in a Russian vehicle called Progress 59, which actually made it off the launch pad, but a serious malfunction caused ground control to lose contact and the spacecraft ended up burning in Earth's atmosphere. The third and most recent catastrophe involved the SpaceX-made Falcon 9 rocket, and while the SpaceX team's still got a ways to go before they've figured this one out, Destin's here with some (very) educated guesses.
In this episode of SmarterEveryDay, you won't just learn about rockets fail, you'll learn about what happens to the astronauts who don't get their cargo, and why this just might be the perfect time to be blowing up rockets. Which sounds crazy, but trust us, if anyone can make a case for that statement, it's Destin.