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Elon Musk on SpaceX Explosion: It's 'Definitely a Setback'

Jul 08, 2015

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday gave his first televised interview in which he made comments about a recent failed launch of his company's Falcon 9 rocket.

Speaking with CNBC, Musk called the June 28 rocket failure "definitely a setback", and said the company was in the midst of a thorough investigation. Until then, he added, SpaceX would refrain from any more launches.

"I think we need to understand exactly what went wrong and be very deliberate at it," Musk said while attending the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley.

June's failed Falcon 9 launch — SpaceX's 19th — was carrying supplies and experiments bound for the International Space Station. With other resupply missions planned for the near future, the SpaceX rocket's loss should not put the astronauts aboard the ISS in jeopardy.

"We need to look at the data and see if there were any near-misses," Musk added. "Could something else have gone wrong and what do we need to do to fix that. Our goal is to have the most reliable rocket ever because it's going to be launching astronauts soon, so it needs to be super reliable."

Despite the setback, NASA recently affirmed its support for SpaceX. with agency administrator Charles Bolden saying the explosion should not deter Musk and his team from their spaceflight program.

"SpaceX has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first six cargo resupply missions to the station, and we know they can replicate that success. We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward," Bolden said in a statement.

PHOTOS: See SpaceX's Biggest Milestones

SpaceX embarked on its first deep space mission with the launch of this Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket on Feb. 11, 2015 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., after two previous failed attempts.
SpaceX embarked on its first deep space mission with the launch of this Falcon 9 rocket on Feb. 11, 2015 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., after two previous failed attempts. Onboard is the Deep Space Climate Observatory, which will head 1 million miles from Earth to watch for incoming geomagnetic storms that could trigger power outages on our planet.John Raoux—AP
SpaceX embarked on its first deep space mission with the launch of this Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket on Feb. 11, 2015 at Cape Canaveral, Fla., after two previous failed attempts.
On May 29, 2014, SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk (not pictured) unveiled the company's first manned spacecraft, Dragon V2, at a press conference in Hawthorne, Calif., on May 29, 2014.
A rocket carrying the SpaceX Dragon ship lifts off from launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on April 18, 2014.
Falcon 9 awaits its upcoming launch in SpaceX's hangar with landing legs attached on March 12, 2014.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 launches with Thailand’s Thaicom 6 satellite on Jan. 6, 2014 from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-40 in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 and SES 8 launch from SpaceX's launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Nov. 28, 2013.
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rolls out of the hangar for SES 8 on Nov. 28, 2013.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying a small science satellite for Canada is launched from a newly refurbished launch pad in Vandenberg Air Force Station in California, on Sept. 29, 2013.
SpaceX's reusable rocket prototype, Grasshopper, completes a 325 meter hop on June 14, 2013 before smoothly landing back on the pad.
SpaceX's fairing on May 27, 2013.
SpaceX's Dragon on the recovery boat on April 13, 2013.
SpaceX's Dragon is grappled by the International Space Station on April 13, 2013.
SpaceX's F9 rocket leaves the hangar at Cape Canaveral, Fla., on March 8, 2013.
Nine Merlin engines for the inaugural Falcon 9 flight, ready for integration onto the thrust structure, on March 8, 2013.
From left: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk view the historic Dragon capsule
SpaceX's unmanned Dragon capsule floats in the Pacific Ocean off of Baja California on May 31, 2012.
SpaceX's Dragon commercial cargo craft is berthed to the International Space Station on May 25, 2012.
A Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Dragon spacecraft blasts off from Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on May 22, 2012.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 test rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on May 22, 2012.
SpaceX'S Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft lift off from Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Dec. 8, 2010.
From left: U.S. President Barack Obama and Head of SpaceX Elon Musk tour Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 15, 2010.
On April 22, 2008, Musk's company landed NASA's launch services contract for Falcon 1 and 9 rockets. Here, the SpaceX factory in Los Angeles is shown on Nov. 21, 2008.
SpaceX embarked on its first deep space mission with the launch of this Falcon 9 rocket on Feb. 11, 2015 at Cape Canaver
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John Raoux—AP
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