By Paul Thomson :: 4:07 PM
Yesterday there was a minor setback in the long journey to Mars when a Space-X test rocket exploded during a trial flight from the company’s launch facilities near McGregor, Texas.
The model F9R test rocket performed a self-destruct procedure as a safety precaution after a computer detected a glitch during the launch process. Space-X confirmed the computer-controlled self destruction in a statement released shortly after the disaster.
Space-X’s F9R rocket is unique because it has been designed to return to a landing pad after launch. Most space rockets are designed for a one-way trip only. They fall back to earth and land in the ocean, or burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. This is not so with the F9R, which has landing legs that allow it to set back down in a spot near where it launched from.
Although Space-X has launched this exact model in successful test flights in the past, Friday’s launch was designed to test some of the rocket’s limits – and as you can see in the video below, the tests were unsuccessful.
Space-X founder and CEO Elon Musk issued the following Tweet shortly after the explosion: “Rockets are tricky …”