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photo: www.spacex.com

Washington: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket-propelling Dragon spacecraft laden with crucial supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) exploded shortly after lift-off in Florida on Sunday.

Two virtual reality headsets to empower astronauts aboard the ISS were part of the supplies on board the SpaceX’s seventh commercial re-supply mission.


“We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo re-supply mission to the International Space Station. However, the astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months,” NASA administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement.


photo courtesy: www.spacex.com

photo courtesy: www.spacex.com

The cargo included food, systems hardware, research materials, computer resources and spacewalking equipment.

It also carried a docking adaptor to prepare the ISS for future commercial missions.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 launch failure marks three cargo failures from three different launch providers in the past few months.

In April, the Russian space agency lost control of its cargo ship en route to the ISS and were forced to abandon it.

In October 2014, an Orbital-ATK Antares rocket exploded on the launch pad, preventing supplies from reaching the ISS.

“We will work closely with SpaceX to understand what happened, fix the problem and return to flight,” Bolden added.

The commercial cargo programme was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles.

“We will continue operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we continue to use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system.”

The failure, however, does not deter the space agency from further cargo missions.

A Russian “Progress” cargo vehicle will launch from Kazakhstan on July 3 to the ISS.

“Orbital ATK, our other commercial cargo partner, is moving ahead with plans for its next launch later this year,” Bolden said.

“We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward,” he said.

This is a reminder that spaceflight is an incredible challenge. (IANS)


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On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

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Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

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