MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The future of space travel and supplying astronauts at the International Space Station was brought up Monday when U.S. Senator Bill Nelson met with representatives from SpaceX and NASA at Cape Canaveral.
On Sunday, an unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies and the first-of-its-kind docking port to the International Space Station broke apart shortly after liftoff. It was a severe blow to NASA, still reeling from previous failed shipments.
Nelson (D-FL), a former space shuttle crew member, is seen as a leading proponent of our country’s space exploration program for its economic, scientific and national security benefits.
“We would be remiss to underestimate the gravity of the situation right now,” said Nelson in a statement..
He noted that SpaceX has made seven previous successful flights to the space station.
The accident occurred about 2 1/2 minutes into the flight. The rocket shattered while traveling at 2,900 mph, about 27 miles up. Everything appeared to go well in the flight until the rocket went supersonic.
SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk later said an over pressurization occurred in the liquid-oxygen tank of the rocket’s upper stage.
“That’s all we can say with confidence right now,” Musk said via Twitter. “Will have more to say following a thorough fault tree analysis.”
Sunday’s launch failure came on the heels of two previous shipment attempt failures. In April, a Russian cargo ship was lost during reentry. And last October, another commercial space company’s supply ship was destroyed shortly after liftoff.