Faulty Support Strut Likely Caused SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Failure: Elon Musk

May 26, 2017 – 06:41 am

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spaceship dazzled in the moments after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 28, 2015 but were soon doomed to a sudden catastrophic destruction barely two minutes later in the inset photo (left). Composite image includes up close launch photo taken from pad camera set at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral and mid-air explosion photo taken from the roof of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida as rocket was streaking to the International Space Station (ISS) on CRS-7 cargo resupply mission. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.comBy Ken Kremer

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explodes about 2 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28, 2015. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

The in-flight failure of a critical support strut inside the second stage liquid oxygen tank holding a high pressure helium tank in the Falcon 9 rocket, is the likely cause of the failed SpaceX launch three weeks ago on June 28, revealed SpaceX CEO and chief designer Elon Musk during a briefing for reporters held today, July 20, to explain why the critical cargo delivery run for NASA to the space station suddenly turned into a total disaster after a promising start.

The commercial booster and its cargo Dragon payload were unexpectedly destroyed by an overpressure event 139 seconds after a picture perfect blastoff from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28 at 10:21 a.m. EDT.

Umbilicals away and detaching from SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 28, 2015 that was doomed to disaster soon thereafter. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.comThe root cause appears to be that the second stage strut holding the high pressure helium tank inside the 2nd stage broke at a bolt – far below its design specification and thereby allowing the tank to break free and swing away.

“The strut that we believe failed was designed and certified to handle 10, 000 lbs of force, but failed at 2, 000 lbs, a five-fold difference, ” Musk explained.

“During acceleration of the rocket to 3.2 G’s, the strut holding down the helium tank failed. Helium was released, causing the over pressurization event.”

To date no other issues have been identified as possible failure modes, Musk elaborated.

The helium tanks are pressurized to 5500 psi and were breached during the over pressurization. The purpose of the helium tanks is to pressurize the first and second stage propellant tanks.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon resupply spaceship explode about 2 minutes after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on June 28, 2015. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

“We tested several hundred struts. On the outside they looked normal. But inside there was a problem, ” Musk explained

“Detailed close-out photos of stage construction show no visible flaws or damage of any kind, ” according to a SpaceX statement.

The struts are produced by an outside vendor that Musk would not identify. He added that in the future, SpaceX will likely choose a different vendor to manufacture the struts.

He said the struts were made from a type of stainless steel and would also likely be redesigned.

“The material of construction will be changed to Inconel, ” Musk told me in response to a question.

Hundreds of the original type struts have been used to date on the first and second stages of the Falcon 9 with no issues. In the future, they will also be independently certified for use, by an outside contractor instead of the vendor.


Source: www.universetoday.com

NASA Commercial Crew Human Spaceflight Program for Transport to the International Space Station (ISS): SpaceX Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Contracts, Safety Reviews, History and Update Reports
eBooks (Progressive Management)

You might also like:

SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes During CRS-7 Launch
SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket Explodes During CRS-7 Launch
Elon Musk reveals cause of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket failure
Elon Musk reveals cause of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket failure
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion caused by faulty strut
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion caused by faulty strut
NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services: A New Era in Spaceflight - History of International Space Station (ISS) Cargo and Crew, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Bigelow
eBooks (Progressive Management)
ACESR Spacex Year Of The Dragon Mouse Pad / Mouse Mat / Mousepad / Mousemat
Office Product (ACESR)
  • Excellent tracking for all mice
  • Smooth Cloth Surface
  • Non-skid base securely holds the mouse pad in place
  • Create Personalized Photo Mouse Pads
  • Dye Sublimation imprinted
SamSingl Samsingl Women Spacex Dragon Capsule Flip-flop 5.5 B(m) Us Rubber Colorful
Sports (SamSingl)
  • Cozy, beach-ready
  • SamSingl
  • Cozy, beach-ready sandal
  • Women
ACESR iPhone 6 Plus Case, Spacex - Year Of The Dragon Iphone Customize Photo Case for iPhone 6 Plus 5.5inch with TPU Black Border
Wireless (ACESR)
  • Designed for the Lastest iPhone 6 Plus(5.5inch), NOT for Apple iPhone 6 (4.7inch)
  • Durable TPU Materia
  • Access to all ports, controls & sensors.
  • Create a custom case with your favorite photos and designs
  • Thermal transfer, Photo Printed in the plastic plate

Related posts:

  1. SpaceX Falcon x
  2. SpaceX Falcon 9 Fuel
  3. SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS 3
  4. SpaceX Failure Cause
  5. SpaceX Failure Root Cause
  • avatar What are the reasons for turbocharger failure?
    • Turbo failureNumber one would have to be bearing failure. This can very often be exacerbated by the practice of revving the engine to spin up the turbo (some people think it sounds cool), right before shutting the engine off. This means that the turbo continues to spin at thousands of RPM's while the engine can no longer supply oil to the bearing.
      Turbo's fail due to lack of lubrication, restricted intake, debris from component failure inside the engine, restricted exhaust.


  • avatar What are the reasons of the failure of the titanic?
    • the lights went out because the system that runs the lights was under water and it burst wich means the lights had to go out wich must of been freaky.