California – After the explosion of a Falcon 9 rocket two months ago due to a failed strut, SpaceX has announced to be carrying a detailed review of their supply-chain, delaying the launch of any Falcon 9 for several more months.
The cause of the explosion was said to be a structural part in the rocket’s upper stage that failed during launch, triggering a chain of events that disintegrated the booster in 2 minutes and 19 seconds while it was flying from Cape Canaveral to the International Space Station. Elon Musk, SpaceX’s chief executive, had previously said the rocket would be launched in September but, on Monday, company’s President Gwynne Shotwell established that it would take longer than planned.
“We’re taking more time than we originally envisioned, but I don’t think any one of our customers wants us to race to the cliff and fail again,” Shotwell said at a webcast panel discussion at the AIAA Space 2015 conference in Pasadena, California.
NASA’s dependence on Russia
The incident has left NASA with $110 million lost in destroyed equipment and no the federal agency dependes on Russia for the delivery of a multi-filtration bed that purifies water on the Space Station. NASA has signed a $490 million contract with Russia to continue launching US astronauts from Russian soil.
However, NASA’s administrator Charles Bolden, suggested on an open letter to Wired last week that if Congress had funded President’s Obama’s Commercial Crew proposal, they could have been launching American astronauts to space from American soil.
“It costs approximately $81 million to send an American astronaut on Russian aircraft, in comparison with the $58 million per seat to send our astronauts on SpaceX’s spacecrafts. Every dollar we invest in Moscow is a dollar we’re not investing in American businesses” he wrote.
Source: The Wall Street Journal