NASA fear Elon Musk SpaceX rocket will ‘explode and destroy only route to ISS’

NASA are worried that Elon Musk's SpaceX rocket will explode in its launch pad, the only route connecting the agencies rockets with the International Space Station.

Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida is the only facility capable of connecting US astronauts with the floating space HQ, so any damage would effectively cut the US off from the cosmos.

The pad is where NASA launched its moonwalkers from, propelling them to the lunar surface in the 1970s.

SpaceX aims to do the same with its Dragon crew, but the risks are high after some of Musk's previous missions ended in smoky failure.

"We all recognize that if you had an early failure like we did on one of the early SpaceX flights, it would be pretty devastating to 39A," Kathy Lueders, NASA's space operations chief, told Reuters.

SpaceX, however, is in the middle of constructing a Starship launch pad only several hundred feet away from Launch Complex 39A.

The project team are also investigating ways to make 39A more resilient to a possible explosion, Lueders added.

"SpaceX is working with us on those things," she said. "Because it’s also in their best interest to not have what is a pretty steady source of income for them become interrupted."

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SpaceX's Starship prototype SN11 went up in a ball of smoke when it was launched last month.

Several minutes after launching from the company's facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, explosions could be heard in a live stream of the event.

Soon after, parts of the rocket were seen raining back down to earth.

"Ascent phase, transition to horizontal and control during free fall were good," Musk wrote in a tweet afterwards.

"A (relatively) small CH4 leak led to fire on engine 2 and fried part of avionics, causing hard start attempting landing burn in CH4 turbopump," he added, explaining the failure.

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