Science 31 Oct 2016 SpaceX plans to retu ...

SpaceX plans to return to flight this year after September accident

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Oct 31, 2016, 12:11 pm IST
Updated Oct 31, 2016, 12:12 pm IST
Pending the results of the investigation, they continue to work towards returning to flight before end of year.
The investigation team has made significant progress on the fault tree. Previously, SpaceX announced the investigation was focusing on a breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank.
 The investigation team has made significant progress on the fault tree. Previously, SpaceX announced the investigation was focusing on a breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank.

Even though the space company has not yet managed to find out the exact reason for the recent rocket explosion, they have planned to keep moving with future projects.

The Accident Investigation Team continues to make progress in examining the anomaly on September 1 that led to the loss of a Falcon 9 and its payload at Launch Complex 40 (LC-40), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

 

Since the incident, investigators from SpaceX, the FAA, NASA, the US Air Force and industry experts have been working methodically through an extensive fault tree to investigate all plausible causes. As part of this, they have conducted tests at our facility in McGregor, Texas, attempting to replicate as closely as possible the conditions that may have led to the mishap.

The investigation team has made significant progress on the fault tree. Previously, SpaceX announced the investigation was focusing on a breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank. The root cause of the breach has not yet been confirmed, but attention has continued to narrow to one of the three composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs) inside the LOX tank. Through extensive testing in Texas, SpaceX has shown that it can re-create a COPV failure entirely through helium loading conditions. These conditions are mainly affected by the temperature and pressure of the helium being loaded.

 

SpaceX’s efforts are now focused on two areas — finding the exact root cause, and developing improved helium loading conditions that allow SpaceX to reliably load Falcon 9. With the advanced state of the investigation, they also plan to resume stage testing in Texas in the coming days, while continuing to focus on completion of the investigation. This is an important milestone on the path to returning to flight.

Pending the results of the investigation, they continue to work towards returning to flight before the end of the year. SpaceX’s launch sites at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, remain on track to be operational in this timeframe.

 

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