SpaceX Aims for Mid-December Falcon 9 Launch After Successful Investigations
SpaceX faced its most difficult "anomaly" yet when a Falcon 9 rocket exploded on Cape Canaveral Air Force Base launch pad last Sept. 1. After almost two months of rigorous investigation, billionaire and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is confident that his spaceflight company may soon resume Falcon 9 launch in December.
Musk was quoted saying that he aims for a December launch during a recent TV interview. The businessman also revealed that they have discovered the cause of the explosion. The liquid oxygen used as a propellant is likely the cause of the explosion. The rocket was being fueled when the blast occurred. The liquid oxygen was extra cool and had entered the rocket in a solid state causing the explosion, Musk said.
"It basically involves liquid helium, advanced carbon fiber composites, and solid oxygen," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said in an interview. "Oxygen so cold that it actually enters solid phase," Musk added.
For Musk, this finding is a bit surprising because this incident hadn't been encountered before. Given SpaceX and its unique way of fueling rockets, it is likely a new problem to investigate. Even NASA expressed its concern over SpaceX and its odd way of fueling rockets that has to be performed minutes before the launch.
"It's never happened before in history. So that's why it took us awhile to sort it out," SpaceX CEO said in an interview.
But it looks like Musk need to study this new fueling system as the investigation also found out that the interaction between the supercool liquid oxygen and the helium bottles carbon composite might have contributed to the explosion.
The incident also wrecked Facebook's Internet Satellite. But despite the unfortunate event, SpaceX is hopeful that the Falcon 9 rocket launch may resume in mid-December. The explosion requires some safety precautions and close cooperation with various agencies such as the US Air Force and the Dederal Aviation Administration before SpaceX can proceed with its scheduled launches.
SpaceX clients on the other hand, are confident that the company will be able to deliver its obligations and will resume launches in the soonest time possible.