On Monday Elon Musk explained that his company believes that the SpaceX rocket exploded last month because of a strut which was holding down a helium bottle. The 2-foot-long strut was on the second stage of the rocket where the explosion occurred. It seems that the small steel band snapped because of the pressure.
The SpaceX Falcon exploded on June 9. It seems that the company is switching strut suppliers, but Musk says that the company itself might as well be responsible for some of the difficulties which the SpaceX rocket faced. As Musk’s company recovers from the launch failure they have slowed down the development of the Falcon heavy rocket. The rocket’s inaugural flight will be postponed until early 2016. The falcon Heavy rocket is made of three Falcon 9 boosters cores, which make it a real mega-booster.
“It’s just the fundamental nature of rocketry: A passing grade is 100 percent every time. Most people at the company today have only ever seen success. When you’ve only ever seen success, you don’t fear failure quite as much. Dragon hit the water quite hard”
The last failure of this type occurred in 2008 when SpaceX only had 500 employees, whereas now it has 4.000. The company has orders for up to 50 launches including from the Air Force, NASA, commercial satellite companies and foreign governments.
The SpaceX rocket which exploded had around 4.000 pounds of experiments and supplies for the space station. The cargo contained a spacesuit, experiments and equipment. The launch work is worth over seven billion dollars and the cargo was worth $110 million.
According to Musk the cargo could have been protected if it had been provided with software which deployed parachutes in an emergency situation. Such software was already developed by the company and it will be added to the following cargo missions.
According to Musk SpaceX has also hired a submarine (the Dragon) to search for what might have remained from the cargo ship. However chances to recover anything are low since the cargo hit the water hard and it might be at the bottom of the ocean, Musk added. He also said that in the future each strut will be tested individually to confirm that it is reliable.
Image Source: phys.org