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Elon Musk to Start SpaceX Rocket Launch Next Month

Nov 05, 2016 11:58 AM EDT
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SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk announced on Friday that his space launch firm is targeting to launch its rockets in mid-December after a launch pad mishap that took place two months back.

During an interview on CNBC's program, Musk said that investigators had finally found out the reason behind the cascade of explosions. The incident that took place on Sept. 1 grounded the Falcon 9 fleet and devastated Israeli communications satellite worth $200 million. The reason behind the accident was an issue in the fuelling system that unwittingly generated solid oxygen in the interior of the upper stage tank of the rocket.

Musk said that his team has got to the bottom of the problem and added that such an issue has never occurred in the history of rocketry. He, however, did not reveal the mission of the next launch nor whether the company would take off from another launch pad. SpaceX has a backlog of nearly 70 missions worth over $10 billion.

The company released a statement last week stating that it was investigating on one of the three containers present in the oxygen tank. At the time of launch, the oxygen gets consumed, and the temperature of helium goes up. It's then released to maintain the pressure level within the tank. 

Tests done by the company had shown the rupture of the containers made up of carbon fibers. The temperature of the oxygen falls so low that it enters into the solid state. SpaceX used an improved Falcon 9 design in December 2015 that uses liquid oxygen at a temperature of -340 degrees. The cold oxygen is dense because of which engine thrust is improved, said SpaceX.

The company is now renovating Launchpad 39A located at the Kennedy Space Center. It also has a launch pad in California by the name of Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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