While the inaugural launch of the Falcon 9 v1.1 on Sunday appeared to be successful, placing the CASSIOPE satellite and several secondary payloads into low Earth orbit, there has been some chatter over the last two days about what happened to the rocket’s second stage after it released its payloads, including speculation—now refuted by the company—that the stage exploded.
SpaceX did not in the post-launch press conference that the company had planned to relight the second stage’s single Merlin engine after deployment, but encountered a problem. “We initiated a relight and the system encountered an anomaly and did not complete the relight,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in a post-launch teleconference Sunday afternoon. “We believe we understand what that issue is and should have it addressed in time for the next flight of the Falcon 9.” He said he wanted to give the company more time to investigate the issue before discussing exactly what happened. “It’s nothing fundamental.”