Earlier this month, an unmanned SpaceX rocket, manned with Facebook’s Israeli Satellite, blew up during a test firing.
The Falcon 9 rocket was being fueled when the mix of rocket-grade kerosene propellant and liquid oxygen reacted, causing a huge explosion that was felt across Florida. Communities up to 40 miles away heard the several explosions and noted seeing pillowing black smoke coming from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
In response, NASA tweeted:
Today’s @SpaceX incident—while not a NASA launch—reminds us that spaceflight is challenging. Our partners learn from each success & setback
— NASA (@NASA) September 1, 2016
Unfortunately, this response fell on closed ears. Just 14 months prior, SpaceX had experienced a very similar failure – the Falcon 9 launch blew up, carrying millions in gear for the International Space Station.
If NASA expects that their partners learn from their setbacks, shouldn’t SpaceX learn from theirs?