After half a dozen successful resupply missions, SpaceX launches to the International Space Station were almost becoming routine. Unfortunately, a Falcon 9 carrying a new payload to the ISS detonated on the way up this morning. The good news is that the mission was unmanned, but the loss is greater than simple supplies. The rocket was carrying a variety of new hardware for the station, including the new docking adapter that will be used for commercial crew launches by SpaceX and Boeing in a year or two. A second docking ring was already in the works and will replace what was lost today, but this is a good reminder of the challenges that face every aerospace endeavor. Today happens to be SpaceX founder Elon Musk's birthday, which makes for quite a bummer, but we're excited to see them bounce back and continue to push towards making space travel commonplace in the years ahead.
There was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Data suggests counterintuitive cause. That's all we can say with confidence right now. Will have more to say following a thorough fault tree analysis.