back to article Watch SpaceX's rocket dramatically detonate, destroying a $200m Facebook satellite

Elon Musk has confirmed that today's SpaceX rocket explosion – which destroyed a $200m satellite – was caused by a cockup during fueling. Footage of the disastrous static firing test shows an inferno breaking out at the top of the Falcon 9 rocket, close to the fueling point for the liquid oxygen reservoir. After the initial …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impressive!

    THAT is what I call a firework. Hey! You Chinese, with yer gunpowder rockets! See how it is really done.

    Elon Musk: The man who knows how to put on a show.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Impressive!

      China is mightier. And also squashes "rumors". (Ok, so it wasn't a rocket, but it's a bad case of crater nevertheless)

      1. harmjschoonhoven

        Re: Impressive!

        @Destroy All Monsters: The failed launch of a Long March 3 rocket on feb 14 1996 killed an estimated 500 subjects of the People's Republic of China ....

        See also a chilling eyewitness report at http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/disaster-at-xichang-2873673/?no-ist

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Impressive!

          Two weeks after the accident, Xinhua, China’s official news agency, reported that the Intelsat-708 accident had left six dead and 57 injured. That, in fact, might be a realistic number for the casualties among the technical personnel involved in preparing the mission. We may never know how many local villagers died, although the numbers could easily have run into the hundreds, which would make the accident the worst disaster in launch history.

          Since that day, the reliability of Long March rockets has greatly improved, although China never became a major player in the global commercial launch business. Bruce Campbell did go back to China for two successful launches of Loral-built satellites. He discovered that the village that used to border the launch center has disappeared, as if it never existed. There is no memorial to the victims, and their fate has never been mentioned in the state-controlled Chinese press.

          Goddammit China. Losing face and lucky numbers. How are you guys ever gonna get ahead?

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Goddammit China

            They could start by stopping killing the most majestic wildlife in order to gain their magic powers

  2. Sureo

    Facebook Satellite

    Don't they spy on us enough?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook Satellite Destroyed

      The Amos 6 satellite, built for Facebook and Eutelsat by Israel Aerospace Industries, was completely destroyed in the accident

      every cloud has a silver lining and all that :)

    2. Fibbles

      Re: Facebook Satellite

      "Here's what I think of the new WhatsApp terms and conditions." - Elon Musk

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Facebook Satellite, Don't they spy on us enough?

      No obviously.

  3. Darryl
    Megaphone

    Protip: Don't assume because it's so quiet that you can leave your speakers cranked up. When the sound from the first blast finally hit, I was almost blown over the back of my chair.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      QOTW, sir.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      But you saw the explosion first, so you should have known that you had a couple of seconds in which to quickly turn down the volume...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A rough estimate is that the camera is about 4km from the rocket (takes a little more then 12s for the sound to travel). If the sound is that loud at that distance... big bang!!! Although the birds settle down quite quickly after it.

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
        Mushroom

        "Settle down" is one things they did after that fireball covered them.

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Alien

    cant see much

    even when slowing the video down.

    Explosion started just below the payload, so another dodgey O2 tank could be in the works.

    On the other hand, electrical spark from somewhere ignites the O2 venting off and the fire flashes inside the tank, or even the payload seperation bolts fire, puncturing the tank and it goes boom

    So until the cause is known.... lets wait and see shall we?

    Or it was.......... Aliens!

    1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: cant see much

      It was aliens. We're pretty blase about Facebook's satellites tapping our comms, but the aliens get really touchy.

    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: cant see much

      ...or maybe the payload's engine igniting by mistake?

      Won't be the first time it ever happened... The Soviet R-16 launch pad catastrophe comes to mind...

      1. Swiss Anton
        Facepalm

        Re: cant see much

        "...or maybe the payload's engine igniting by mistake?".

        That was my initial thought. Its probably down to some new C# code written by a cross trained VB programmer. Something like

        arrayAllEngines[9].Start(); // Start the engine in the middle of stage 1

        1. Fibbles

          Re: cant see much

          arrayAllEngines[9].Start(); // Start the engine in the middle of stage 1

          Is this supposed to start all 9 engines or just the 9th? Because it fails at both.

          1. JLV Silver badge

            Re: cant see much

            "Sorry, boss, I just copy/pasted this code I found on StackOverflow. How was I to know the guy didn't know what he was doing??? Besides... Fail Early, Fail Fast, FTW."

          2. Paul Woodhouse

            Re: cant see much

            should actually be a loop...

            for i = 1 to 9

            arrayAllEngines[i].Start(); // Start the engine in the middle of stage 1

            doEvents

            next i

        2. hplasm Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: cant see much

          "arrayAllEngines[9].Start(); // Start the engine in the middle of stage 1"

          Windows in spacecraft. And I thought Alien was a horror story!

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: cant see much

            Windows in spacecraft.

            Oxygen burns blue (supposedly/see B5 "Day in the Life" ep), people under a crashing burning rocket (or those aboard if they get time) would scream... So would this bring about "Blue Scream of Death(tm)" ?

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: cant see much

        if the payload rocket started the fire that led to the explosion, who's responsibility would THAT be?

        I blame Facebitchbook.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        ...or maybe the payload's engine igniting by mistake?

        Very doubtful. The youtube video shows the payload (still in shroud) being blown off. That 2nd bang you hear when it hits the ground is probably the hypergol tanks rupturing, mixing and doing what hypergols like to do best.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: cant see much

      O2 doesn't burn by itself, that's why it's not a big deal to vent it that way. Sure does appear that the explosion started external to the booster. I'd guess the fuel coupling blew a gasket, then blew a bunch of fine kerosine droplets out, and then some relay on the gantry gave a spark to set it off, and then all that pure O2 floating around definitely would be a problem.

    4. DNTP

      Re: cant see much

      I don't believe it was a payload engine misfire since the payload stage fell pretty much straight down and looked largely intact before it hit the pad and detonated (that's presumably the hydrazine contamination source that SpaceX referred to, since the Falcon9 itself runs off the kerosene derivative RP-1 and LOX).

      Note the initial small fireball close to the top of the stage, the fireball expansion, and the burning streamers cascading down under the fireball. That's burning RP-1. I would speculate a leak in the fuel stage mixed with venting oxygen- at which point a tiny static charge would have been enough to set it off- and a flashback into the fuel tank, which ruptured into the larger fireball and streamers.

      The brighter flash when the payload hits the pad seems to be the hydrazine/oxidizer tanks rupturing and the hypergolic contents suddenly finding themselves in massive contact. Probably a much faster reaction than the RP-1 tank rupture and combustion, but the sheer speed of detonation would tend to fling a lot of hydrazine away from the reaction size without oxidization, hence the contamination hazard.

      Mainly I'm glad no one got killed. Satellites and rockets can be rebuilt.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: cant see much

        "I would speculate a leak in the fuel stage mixed with venting oxygen"

        Or a leaky coupling (not secured properly)

        Which would gel with the "cockup" comment.

    5. Andy france

      Re: cant see much

      @boris .... definitely not caused by payload bolts firing as they are captive pneumatics not pyrotechnic. A flash electric fire fed by venting oxygen seems more likely. Though it could even have been something as bizarre as the wrong type of grease being used on the oxygen vent system. LOX is a very unforgiving substance.

    6. Sebastian A

      Re: cant see much

      Wait until professionals analyse everything and issue an official report? Where's the fun in that. It was obviously an ISIS sniper trained in rocketry by North Korea and smuggled near the facility by the molepeople firing a prototype rifle provided by aliens!

      1. Jan 0

        Re: cant see much

        Oh No! Not the Molemen. Where's Captain Marvel when you need him?

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: cant see much

        "It was obviously an ISIS sniper trained in rocketry by North Korea and smuggled near the facility by the molepeople firing a prototype rifle provided by aliens!"

        I knew it! That's exactly the sort of claim a lizard person would make to cover his tracks!

        [Dons Q metal cap to reinforce the aluminium one]

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: molepeople

          It was obviously those pesky Gnomes and their "thing" , trying to get back to their orbiting spaceship

          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            Re: molepeople @Prst.

            Nice Bromeliad Trilogy (Truckers, Diggers, Wings) reference.

            Have an upvote, but hold off on the poetry, please.

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: molepeople

            It was obviously those pesky Gnomes and their "thing" , trying to get back to their orbiting spaceship

            So you are saying that Elon is really Grandson Richard, 39?

        2. Yesnomaybe

          Re: cant see much

          [Dons Q metal cap to reinforce the aluminium one]

          I only use the finest Mu-metal caps. Safety first.

      3. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: cant see much

        Sebastion! You know too much, stay away from your windows and wear something bullet proof on your head, like a galvanised bucket!

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: cant see much

        I'm so sorry, I thought all the stuff about laser pointers was bullshit!

    7. G R Goslin

      Re: cant see much

      Point is, with LOX, that you don't need a spark. LOX and any hydrocarbon will spontaneously burn (explode) if mixed. Ask any rocket engineer. Even with an oxy gas torch, greasing the couplings is a no-no-NO!!! operation.

    8. Chemist

      Re: cant see much

      "electrical spark from somewhere ignites the O2 venting off"

      No ! - whatever else happened oxygen does not burn. The spark might have ignited something else but NOT oxygen - No !.

    9. cray74

      Re: cant see much

      [edit] Big John beat me to it.

      On the other hand, electrical spark from somewhere ignites the O2 venting off and the fire flashes inside the tank, or even the payload seperation bolts fire, puncturing the tank and it goes boom

      O2 doesn't ignite; O2 ignites you. Pure oxygen doesn't support combustion alone and sea level air isn't flammable. So, if there was fire outside initially there'd have to be fuel to go with the oxidizer.

      Maybe I'm reading too much into the grainy zoomed-in video, but it does look like the flash started by the second stage umbilical connection. That's a reasonable spot to expect second stage kerosene and oxidizer to get cuddly.

    10. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: cant see much

      "or even the payload seperation bolts fire"

      Spacex don't use explosive bolts (they're unreliable and they leave extra debris in orbit). The separation is done penumatically.

      Nothing's going to "ignite" venting LOX. You need a fuel source and there's nothing in midair to provide that.

      On the other hand, in an oxygen-rich atmosphere just about anything will burn, given an ignition source. (In Apollo 1 it was compounded by being pure oxygen at Atmosphere+5psi, which made the polyester threads in the velcro almost explosive and there was far too much velcro in the capsule), so if LOX was venting _inside_ the fairings it would explain a lot.

      It's going to be interesting to see how the pad and support structures fared (and if things can be designed to minimise damage in such events).

    11. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: cant see much

      O2 doesn't burn - it helps other things burn a lot faster but you really can't tell what was happening internally from a video.

  6. chuckufarley

    I have mixed feelings about this...

    ...because I like SpaceX and NASA and I hate Facebook. I just hope the next Facebook satellite fails after it is off of the planet.

    1. Anonymous John

      Re: I have mixed feelings about this...

      Facebook were only leasing capacity on the comsat to provide free Internet access to parts of Africa. Facebook isn't the loser here.

      1. chuckufarley
        Coat

        Re: I have mixed feelings about this...

        "Facebook were only leasing capacity on the comsat to provide free Internet access to parts of Africa."

        Free? Just like www.facebook.com is free if you don't mind malware ads and apps or having your personal information sold to the highest bidder.

        "Facebook isn't the loser here."

        Right, but they are everywhere else on the internet.

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: I have mixed feelings about this...

        " Facebook isn't the loser here."

        But maybe Africa is the winner?

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: I have mixed feelings about this...

          Africa is never a winner.

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: I have mixed feelings about this...

      When Zucks books his first space travel?

  7. J J Carter Silver badge
    Linux

    A heavy price to pay...

    And that's why you shouldn't be on the Windows 10 Fast Ring!

  8. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Mars

    That's definitely an Earth-shattering kaboom!

  9. J J Carter Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oh c0ck!

    Zuckerberg will be unliking that!

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Shitty YouTube skin

    Can you guys get rid of your shitty YouTube skin? It's insisting on playing in Flash, then crashing because (duh!) I don't have Flash installed, as per the many, many Adobe security issues.

    Thanks much!

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Shitty YouTube skin

      The player uses HTML5 if your browser can take it. I have Flash blocked in Chrome and the video plays fine without any plugins.

      C.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shitty YouTube skin

        Maybe he's still using IE?

        1. David Nash Silver badge

          Re: Shitty YouTube skin

          Worked for me in IE with no Flash installed.

  11. et tu, brute?
    Mushroom

    Oops!

    That's it... title says it all!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    BBC has completed root cause analysis

    This vehicle is run on kerosene and liquid oxygen... bring those two together and you light them, it's a fairly combustible mix, reports Jonathan Amos

    If only they'd adopted my inherently safe and much cheaper proposal: lightly wetted beach sand (high quality: all the big bits of shell screened out and no goggle-eyed sea critters). 100% natural, contains no GMO, and very little chance of Zuckerberg ogling your arse crack from above.

    1. DNTP

      Wet beach sand

      A perfectly safe propellant. Unless you use a chlorine trifluoride oxidizer (fluoridizer?).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wet beach sand

        Trouble is, it leaves you stranded.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Wet beach sand

          upvote for strand.

      2. W4YBO

        Re: Wet beach sand

        Upvote for the "Ignition!" reference. I finally found it on Google Play Books after seeing it mentioned in several comments. Well worth the price!

      3. cray74

        Re: Wet beach sand

        A perfectly safe propellant. Unless you use a chlorine trifluoride oxidizer (fluoridizer?).

        Fluorine and chlorine are still referred to as oxidizers (oxidizing agents, oxidants) because they act chemically the same way: they cause other elements to lose electrons. Oxygen was just noted first and is more common in its free form, so it gets all the glory despite being the less energetic, less aggressive cousin.

      4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Wet beach sand

        "A perfectly safe propellant. Unless you use a chlorine trifluoride oxidizer "

        Quite true.

        Few people think of concrete as an effective solid rocket fuel but with enough CTF it can be quite effective. Naturally you need to observe certain safety precautions.

        Like standing about 1 county to the side of the flight path

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Wet beach sand

          Might as well do Orion From Ground.

        2. cray74

          Water bipropellant rockets

          Few people think of concrete as an effective solid rocket fuel but with enough CTF it can be quite effective.

          Excellent point. And that got me thinking. As noted by John Clark in "Ignition" (book of the hour), chlorine trifluoride will also burn with water (and water-rich substances like people). The resulting combustion products - various unpleasant combinations of Cl, H, F, and O - will have lower molecular masses than the products of combustion with calcium carbonate and silicate mixtures. The products are also uniformly gaseous, unlike some of the concrete combustion products. It'd be interesting trying to sell that environmental impact statement:

          "The rocket with the safest fuel ever: water!"

          "What about the oxidizer?"

          "Er...cough...[mumble chlorine mumble]..."

        3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

          Re: Wet beach sand

          Ah, all these delightful comments about the more energetic chemicals reminds me of Max Gergel’s memoir “Excuse Me Sir, Would You Like to Buy a Kilo of Isopropyl Bromide?”

          Both very entertaining and extremely terrifying at the same time. Much like rocket fuels :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC has completed root cause analysis

      very little chance of Zuckerberg ogling your arse crack from above.

      As you get older you care less about these things, particularly if you're male and smelly. If the Zuckwit wants to film my arse, I really can't get excited about the matter.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC has completed root cause analysis

      Yep. BBC's Science Correspondent Jonathan Amos must have banged his head recently. It wasn't that long ago that he was reasonably sharp, but recently he's written some bone-headed nonsense.

      A few weeks ago, he wrote that somebody had 3D Printed "a car". Implying that after "the car" had emerged from the printer, somebody got in and drove away. It wasn't even the headline, it was in the body.

      Nutz.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: BBC has completed root cause analysis

        "after "the car" had emerged from the printer, somebody got in and drove away."

        3D printed petrol - that could solve the world's fuel problems!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: BBC has completed root cause analysis

          3D Printed 32PSI air for the tires requires another very expensive cartridge for the printer.

          Pet Peeve, some people actually believe the hype.

  13. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Meh

    A small crumb of comfort

    At least it wasn't the one they were intending to re-use.

    1. Vulch

      Re: A small crumb of comfort

      Well, it wasn't the one they were intending to use next. They intend to re-use all of them if they stay in one bit though.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: A small crumb of comfort

      Yes, but it will inevitably cast some doubt on that policy: no good having cheap launchers if expensive satellites get lost.

      I really admire Musk's ambition, and I wish Space X all the best, but I'm not yet convinced that Silicon Valley's approach will transfer well to space.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: A small crumb of comfort

        Because $bn rockets built by giant defence companies from re-purposed ICBM designs and launched by national space agencies don't go kaboom ?

        In fact the only way to get 100% reliability appears to be the N Korea method - I wonder how they do it?

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: A small crumb of comfort

          Because $bn rockets built by giant defence companies from re-purposed ICBM designs and launched by national space agencies don't go kaboom

          So you mean not like Ariane?

          Rockets from the Ariane family have accumulated 230 launches since 1979, 219 of which were successful, yielding a 95.2% success rate. Between April 2003 and June 2016, Ariane 5 has flown 72 consecutive missions without failure.

          And that has involved doing some seriously revolutionary rocket science.

          Source

          It doesn't matter a gnat's dick if the launch only costs $ 10 million if your $ 200 million satellite goes up in flames. Expect insurance premiums for Falcon launches to have gone up significantly this week.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: A small crumb of comfort

            >So you mean not like Ariane?

            After the first launch of Ariane5 the stats didn't look so good.

            Fortunately I wasn't a solar astrophysicist so didn't care about the loss of the payload

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

              Re: A small crumb of comfort

              After the first launch of Ariane5 the stats didn't look so good.

              You're right, they didn't and that launch was a disaster. But it was also an exhaustively researched disaster and it looks like the lessons have been learned.

        2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

          Re: A small crumb of comfort

          "In fact the only way to get 100% reliability appears to be the N Korea method - I wonder how they do it?"

          Could be the same method that Iran used:

          boingboing.net/2008/07/10/iran-you-suck-at-pho.html

  14. Smitty Werben Jueger Man Jenson
    Mushroom

    oh my.

    This Facebook adblock spat is starting to get out of hand.

  15. Swiss Anton
    Joke

    Kerbal

    I did something like this (a lot) when playing Kerbal Space Program

    1. wolfetone Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Kerbal

      My problem with Kerbal was that I could put things in to orbit, but I could never get them back down.

      So, in a weird way, my Kerbal program was more successful than SpaceX!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Kerbal

        A Ballardian Failure Mode, then?

      2. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

        Re: Kerbal

        "My problem with Kerbal was that I could put things in to orbit, but I could never get them back down."

        Turn retrograde, burn all remaining fuel. The ground will meet you shortly.

        1. Crisp Silver badge

          Re: Turn retrograde, burn all remaining fuel. The ground will meet you shortly.

          I think he wants to land on Kerbin safely, not fall out of the sky until he impacts terrain.

          1. toxicdragon
            Flame

            Re: Turn retrograde, burn all remaining fuel. The ground will meet you shortly.

            Easy, turn retrograde and burn just enough to get the periapsis (lowest point of orbit) is just below 70k meters and wait. when you are below the re entry burning jettison everything you dont want to make it down, then wait till around 6-4k up, no less then that, at this point you should be slow enough to activate a drogue chute, once that has deployed do the main.

            I like KSP.

            EDIT: Actually once you are below the heat effects you could fire off the remaining fuel you have, the only thing is to make sure that you are far enough down for the chute to work and slow enough.

        2. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Kerbal

          "Turn retrograde, burn all remaining fuel. The ground will meet you shortly."

          That's not the problem. The problem is that I have no fuel to do that. Every, single, time.

          1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

            Re: Kerbal

            "The problem is that I have no fuel to do that. Every, single, time."

            Ok...assuming you've tried adding some fuel (mebbe some SRBs?), then my next question would be at what altitude are you starting your gravity turn. A mistake a lot of new players make is to fire their rocket straight 'up' and then roll over to 90 degrees once they reach ~100k; it's much better to start a gravity turn at lower altitudes (around 10-20 at most, as low as 6k if your launch vehicle is stable) and slowly lower the angle (~3 degree steps) every few thousand metres. This should keep your fuel usage efficient enough to reach orbit.

            I strongly recommend watching a chap called "scott manley" on youtube. He does a cracking series for new players.

    2. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Kerbal

      Elon Musk obviously needs more struts...

  16. WeeGordy
    Childcatcher

    The Technical Failure, I can forgive....

    But not the s'tray apos'trophe in the video. It's a continual s'ource of irritation that people dont' know how to us'e an apos'trophe. But then Im jus't an idiot....

  17. A. Coatsworth
    Alien

    First the attack on Sentinel A1 and now this... I suggest summoning Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum at once, just in case.

    I'm not saying it was aliens, but...

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      .. and after last weeks "near miss", add Bruce Willis to the team. We need to cover all the base since all our base belong to them.

  18. Magani
    Trollface

    Facebook satellite explodes

    Not enough 'Likes'?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Facebook satellite explodes

      No, the "Like" button was too close to "Self-destruct"...

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Facebook satellite explodes

        No, the "Like" button was too close to "Self-destruct"...

        That was one hell of a nurse!

  19. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Zuck's disappointment....

    and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided."

    Err... what's his plan for those of us who refuse to take that 'opportunity'? Nuke us from space?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Zuck's disappointment....

      Probably regime change once the Presidentesse has been sworn in.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Zuck's disappointment....

        "Presidentesse" sounds young and maybe even attractive, sort of princess-like. Can I suggest using Presidentrix instead?

  20. PhilipN Silver badge

    Hydrazine

    Wait for it to dissipate?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrazine

    Scroll down to "Hazards".

    Urggh!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Hydrazine

      Reticulans like to drink it "on the rocks".

      Humans, however.... well .... liver failure and cancer. And that for minute amounts.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: Hydrazine

        i'd have thought that cleanup and decontamination is going to be a bitch.

        Firstly, Hydrazine is rather unpleasant stuff. It's other use is dissolving/etching glass IIRC. Secondly, (covering this as I guess a few people may not know) it's use in a rocket is attractive because you just have two chemicals that you inject together and they ignite on contact.

        Now imagine that you've got unignited pools of both chemicals sitting splashed over the pad. Mopping it up could be somewhat... interesting.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Hydrazine

      Parts covered in Hydrazine stay covered in hydrazine no matter how much cleanup you do.

      A few metres away from me, there are a couple of bits which fell off the 1st Ariane 5 launch (recovered from under about 6 feet of Guianan swamp mud by members of the French Foreign Legion)

      They're in a glass case and unlike all the other glass cases there's a safety seal on it to prevent anyone opening it.

  21. Mike Shepherd
    Meh

    "...destroying a $200m Facebook satellite"

    Every cloud has a silver lining.

  22. joed

    was the autopilot on?

    or just someone was trying to top off?

  23. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Good news...

    This was "just some" failure. Normal Rocket Science.

    This wasn't the to-be-reused rocket.

    It would have been worse if it was their first to-be-reused booster. A failure with that would have seriously set back that aspect of their business model.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zuckerberg self interest

    Hey Zuck ,"I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite" it was a test of your satellite systems as well as the launch vehicle, who's to say a fault in your satellite didn't destroy the launcher? Be thankful that no one was hurt and wait for the investigation to come out, you <redacted>.

  25. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Can make my mind up

    whether I prefer successful space adventures or well videoed fuckups of the same.

    1. Paul Woodhouse

      Re: Can make my mind up

      Indeed, certainly isn't boring yet :D....

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes! Take that Cuckerberg!

    And Facebook zombies... that money was from all the targeted advertising Cuckerberg had unleashed upon you after rampant data mining.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: Yes! Take that Cuckerberg!

      Paid for an interesting video though.

  27. Stephen May

    Bugger...

    I've just spent two months overhauling an 11m DBS-Band antenna ready for services on the AMOS-6 when it went live. God knows what we're going to do with it now!

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Bugger...

      "God knows what we're going to do with it now!"

      Wait for the replacement. It won't be long.

    2. Tim Jenkins

      Re: Bugger...

      Really big stir-fry, while watching the video on a loop?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook satellite destroyed?

    Thumbs up.

  29. gregthecanuck
    Mushroom

    RUD

    To quote from one of Musk's comments on a previous incident:

    RUD = Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: RUD

      RUDE = Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly Event.

      "That was RUDE"

  30. Jonjonz

    Could not happen to better guy

    Karma catches up to Zuk.

    1. Sitch

      Re: Could not happen to better guy

      Lets hope this is just the start of it.

  31. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Pretty ironic should it turn out that it was caused by a faulty battery.

  32. Allonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    "Move fast and break things...

    ... unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough". Allegedly a quote from The Zuck himself.

    Oh, and obligatory XKCD reference: https://xkcd.com/1428 (perhaps "rocket scientist" ought to be added to the list).

  33. John Sanders
    Mushroom

    This is what comes to mind...

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer company (Facebook)

    I laughed when I saw the tip falling down and exploding on a second explosion.

    And I laughed because all these things represent is money and not loss of life, so yes, it is the moral thing to laugh.

    The payload was a satellite for Farcebook to bring internet to remote regions of Africa, the same regions where people does not have electricity much less a computer, and smartphones are used as torches to illuminate the hut at night, so yeah liberal progressive logic blew with the rocket, hence why I'm enjoying myself.

    If anything I'm sorry for Musk and not "Farceberg", I'm a fan of Space X and I wish they produce the best space rockets ever.

  34. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Joke

    Clangers say.

    No Mr Zuckerberg. The Soup Dragon is ours.

    It's Friday.

  35. Ivan Headache

    Anomaly

    Now that's what I call an anomoly!

  36. GettinSadda
    Mushroom

    Cause Located...

    It seems that for some reason the payload included a Samsung Galaxy Note 7

    (Someone had to suggest this!)

  37. Sitch

    Odd

    The explosion appeared to start at the top.

  38. redbarnman

    Gosh, how many VW units of pollution is this?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      486,314,213 VWUs. Except it was on test stand, so only measured as 3.14 VWUs, well within legal limits.

  39. Bruno de Florence

    "We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone"

    Really? Nobody asked you to connect everyone, so go connect and multiply yourself, monsieur Zucki.

  40. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Poor Zuck

    I bet he's crying into his insurance money at the moment!

  41. Tim Brummer

    Been there, done that.

    I was in the launch blockhouse when this Titan exploded at Vandenberg AFB.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-aAp9hhNQQ

    It totally destroyed the launch pad, a support building, and fuel transfer lines. It tooks us six months to repair everything. There was a deep smoking crater left where the support building formerly was.

    Looks like the SpaceX damage here is a lot less than we had.

    But I don't understand how an oxygen line can explode like that, you need a lot of fuel mixed with the oxygen to get an explosion that big. It reminds me of when the destruct charge of a Titan I accidentally went off.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoXoVEYoo5A

  42. JCitizen
    Mushroom

    You all are wrong

    It was Gary Seven and his cat that done it!! Just ask Miss Lincoln!!

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