Rocket Explosion a 'Huge Blow for SpaceX,' Elon Musk Says

November 5, 2016 – 02:36 am
SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket streaking through the sky with the company's Dragon cargo capsule on June 28, 2015. The rocket broke apart less than 3 minutes into the flight.
Credit: NASA TV

The failure of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket during an unmanned cargo launch toward the International Space Station late last month is a big setback for the company, founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

The Falcon 9 exploded less than 3 minutes after blasting off from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on June 28, scuttling SpaceX's seventh contracted resupply flight to the orbiting lab for NASA. The consequences of the mishap probably will be substantial for the company, Musk said.

"Obviously, it's a huge blow to SpaceX, " Musk said Tuesday (July 7) at the International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Boston. "We take these missions incredibly seriously."

SpaceX holds a $1.6 billion NASA deal to fly at least 12 robotic resupply runs to the orbiting lab using the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket and the company's Dragon capsule. All of the first six missions were completely successful.

The company is still investigating what happened on June 28. While the problem was apparently associated with an "overpressure event" in the rocket's upper-stage liquid-oxygen tank, investigators still hadn't pinpointed the root cause of the accident as of Tuesday.

"There's still no clear theory that fits with all the data, " Musk said, adding that he expects to have something more definitive to say in the coming days.

The Falcon 9 will be grounded until the problem has been identified and rectified, and time is money in spaceflight as in other endeavors. SpaceX's launch manifest currently lists nearly three dozen future Falcon 9 flights, which will loft payloads for a variety of customers, so the impact of a lengthy delay could be far-reaching.


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  • avatar How can you clean and check auto choke on 3.9 falcon motor?
    • start car then spray carby cleaner around the top of the carby and down into the jets while holding the throttle to about 3000 rpm the revs will die a bit when u do this so keep holding the throttle open until revs pick back up if the choke is working properly it should be fully open at operating temp