Sunday’s launch of an unmanned cargo ship toward the International Space Station ended about two-minutes in, when the Falcon 9 rocket that was conducting the liftoff exploded, leading the manufacturer SpaceX to announce it is postponing its next launch.
The Falcon 9 had some successes in the past, but is still comparatively new, and has become effectively the lone supplier of Pentagon rockets after last year’s Congressional ban on awarding contracts to ULA, which uses Russian-made engines.
The Pentagon is hoping Congress is going to re-explore that ban now, saying they’d very much like to have two independent sources of rockets, something which would clearly be nice when the other source has a problem with rockets blowing up.
Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), however, is adamant he will block any such efforts to reverse the ban, insisting rockets bought from Russia would mean taxpayer money going straight to Russian President Vladimir Putin. That the Russian rockets aren’t blowing up, however, is likely to keep the Pentagon wanting to acquire them.