SpaceX successfully place both the Dragon space capsule (on a resupply mission to the ISS) and the Orbcomm satellite into orbit this evening.
Below is a series of still images from the video showing the anomaly. The first shows the 9 engines burning normally at 1:19 into the flight.
The second shows an initial flash.
The third shows a wider flame outside the normal stream.
The fourth shows the initial wide flame dissipating.
The fifth shows possible debris along the upper side of the plumes of the engines. At the very top, right is visible a large piece of debris.
The sixth shows the large piece of debris (dark, triangular shape) in the engine plume, as well as other possible debris.
The Falcon 9 was designed for engine out capability, as well as loss of an engine in an accident. It seems that this episode may be the proof of concept. Scary thought to have an engine fail in this manner. But both payloads were delivered.
Well done SpaceX.
SpaceX has released the following statement:
This is not the first Merlin 1C engine anomaly. SpaceX acknowledged an “oxidizer-rich” condition that shut down an engine on the first Dragon flight in December 2010.