A space vehicle engineered in the South Bay blew up as it was being launched from Florida on Sunday, a setback for Hawthorne-based SpaceX.

The second stage of the rocket failed 139 seconds after takeoff, after the first stage performed normally, said SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell, at a NASA news conference.

“We are working to identify the issue, to fix it, and gte back to flying,” Shotwell said.

Amid items lost were a docking adapter, a space suit and important experiments, NASA officials said.

“We lost a lot of research,” one official said, including student experiments.

Another supply mission, atop a different company’s Progress launch vehicle, is scheduled for launch July 3. NASA officials said there was sufficient food, water and fuel on board the ISS for the time being.

At 7:21 a.m., a SpaceX vehicle with a Falcon 9 capsule — loaded with 4,300 pounds of goods — was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. At first stage separation, 2 minutes and 19 seconds into the flight, it disintegrated.

More than 3,000 employees, most in the South Bay, work on the Falson 9 rocket, a new reusable space delivery system designed to replace the now-retired fleet of Space Shuttles. SpaceX is one of two private U.S. firms with NASA contracts to deliver groceries and scientific equipment to the International Space Station in low Earth orbit.

— City News Service

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