Industryweek 11982 Spacex1

SpaceX Says It Will Return to Flight as Early as November

Sept. 23, 2016
Blast investigation narrows in on cause.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX said it could resume rocket launches in November even though investigators still haven’t determined why a Falcon 9 craft was incinerated in a fireball.

The company eliminated any connection between this year’s mishap and a June 2015 accident in which a rocket with cargo destined for the International Space Station was lost, the company led by billionaire Musk said in a statement on its website Friday.

“At this stage of the investigation, preliminary review of the data and debris suggests that a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place,” said SpaceX in the statement. “All plausible causes are being tracked in an extensive fault tree and carefully investigated. Through the fault tree and data review process, we have exonerated any connection with last year’s CRS-7 mishap.”

SpaceX said that “substantial areas” of the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, were affected but that another pad -- known as 39A -- should come online in November.

“Getting back to flight safely and reliably is our top priority, and the data gathered from the present investigation will result in an even safer and more reliable vehicle for our customers and partners,” said SpaceX.

By Dana Hull

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