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Elon Musk Explains SpaceX Rocket Explosion: Launch May Resume Next Month

First Posted: Nov 07, 2016 04:23 AM EST
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Engineers finally found out what caused the explosion of one of the SpaceX Rockets in September, and it seems that launches could resume by mid-December, as stated by company chief executive Elon Musk.

Musk said during an interview that it seems they have finally gotten to the bottom of the problem, which surprisingly, is something that they've never encountered before. He described it as the "toughest puzzle solved" that they ever had to solve.

The New York Times noted that the cascade of explosions that destroyed the Falcon 9 rocket on September 1, as well as a $200 million satellite, perplexed the company because it occurred before the engines were ignited for a planned test. It complicated NASA's operations with the International Space station, seeing as SpaceX is one of two companies that were supposed to ferry cargo to a space mission. Because of this, SpaceX's next flight was postponed indefinitely.

SpaceX spokesmen were also unwilling to elaborate on Musk's comments, and referred instead to a statement issues last week which said that attention is now focused on one of the three pressure vessels that contained fuel in the rocket, and managed to recreated the failure of the vessels in a laboratory test in their Texas facility.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that hazards could be greater for astronauts on board SpaceX rockets, especially after the company proposed that they be strapped in before fueling begins instead of the traditional boarding after fueling. Space Station advisory committee head Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford of the Air Force previously objected to the idea, saying that SpaceX's proposal was "contrary to booster safety criteria that has been in place for over 50 years, both in this country and internationally."

However, the company said that the boarding order is not yet final. SpaceX initially hoped to resume the flights of their rockets by the end of November, but according to CNN, it seems that the launch will be resumed by mid-December instead.

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