The American aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company SpaceX confirmed this Wednesday that its most recent rocket just exploded last Sunday due to unknown reasons. The founder and CEO, Elon Musk, informed that the team is investigating which was the cause of the engine malfunction that made the rocket blow.
The company’s statement assured that the team followed all the “safety protocols” at the company’s test facility in McGregor, Texas and that no one was injured in what they called the “qualification test.” Unfortunately, they have to start another investigation again, but now to find the reasons for the company’s Merlin engine explosion — a completely-new technology that hasn’t ever been tested in flight.
Also, SpaceX informed the public that the company is thoroughly committed to their “current manifest,” and that it does not expect this event will have any impact on their “launch cadence.”
This is not the first time that a project doesn’t end as SpaceX expected.
Previous rockets also went wrong
In 2015, the company’s Falcon 9 rocket blew up at Cape Canaveral, just a few minutes after it started flying. No one was hurt because no one was onboard, but it represented a considerable loss for SpaceX after expecting the rocket would be able to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
Something similar happened again a year after, in 2016. Another Falcon 9 exploded, but this one hadn’t left the launchpad. At the moment, scientists were recording an engine test fire. Fortunately, none ended injured.
All the tests from the “block 5” version of the engines in the Falcon 9 will be suspended until the experts can reach a conclusion. Moreover, the company will start repairing the test bay where the rocket exploded. This will take from two to four weeks. Then, the preparations will be operating again.
2017, a good year for SpaceX
Although SpaceX has had previous and unfortunate tragedies, the company has achieved high records this year. Just in 2017, the company has successfully launched 16 rockets — doubling the usual number that the company usually launches, and getting closer to the number of launches of SpaceX’s rival: the United Launch Alliance.
SpaceX has not only launched commercial satellites this year. Its CEO Elon Musk has previously said that there have been many flights to the ISS with cargos especially directed to astronauts performing studies.
The company has also worked with the Pentagon by developing and launching special satellites.
According to a spokeswoman for Air Force, some officials from Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center were attending the SpaceX’s Texas facilities when the rocket exploded.
Elon Musk has previously said he wants his company to be the first able to send humans in both commercial and private flights to the Moon and Mars. NASA, which is working with the company, expects to send astronauts to the fourth planet in our Solar System in around one to three years. In August, SpaceX’s CEO released photos of the spacesuit that astronauts would be using in the mission.
The company is not giving up on this. This was just one out of many tests. At least three times more SpaceX plans to launch others Falcon 9 — including next week, for a national security mission at the Kennedy Space Center.
Source: The Washington Post