An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies and a first-of-its-kind docking port to the International Space Station broke apart Sunday shortly after liftoff. It was a severe blow to NASA, still reeling from previous failed shipments. The accident happened about 2 1/2 minutes into the flight from Cape Canaveral, Florida. More than 5,200 pounds of space station cargo were on board, including the first docking port designed for future commercial crew capsules.
Losing this shipment — which included replacements for items lost in two previous failed supply flights — was a huge setback for NASA in more than one way. The space agency is counting on private industry to transport cargo — and eventually astronauts — to the orbiting lab. The California-based SpaceX is one of the contenders. It is the second failed launch in a row, and the third in 8 months.
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