Elon Musk explained that the investigation that Space X has conducted on the latest rocket failure has essentially revealed that the cause was a faulty strut that was holding down a helium bottle from the rocket’s second stage.
Musk revealed that the strut that ended up causing the explosion was purchased by Space X from a contractor company, that he refused to name though. However, he believes that there are other factors that have played an essential role in the rocket failure.
A very important aspect that Elon Musk believes to have been crucial is the fact that the majority of his employees have come to Space X after 2008, when the company registered its first rocket failure. Considering that they had not actually witnessed a rocker failure situation themselves, they were not driven enough to triple check their actions upon conducting the quality control. As such, they might consider that Musk might be paranoid for imposing certain measures, but it seems that these are extremely relevant and necessary.
“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.” explained Elon Musk.
Fortunately for Space X, none of the companies that had they were supposed to work with in future launches has decided to end the collaboration. Despite the immense financial loss that this rocket failure entails, which Musk has anticipated to be in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars, the fact that Space X’s collaborators, such as NASA and Air Force, are staying on ensures that the company will be able to withstand this unfortunate episode.
The investigation regarding the happenings that have led to the failure of the rocket will be conducted by Space X, but the team will include members from NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and from the National Transportation Safety Board, who have the right to protest to anything that they might find unsatisfactory about the manner in which the investigation is being carried out.
The Space X rocket was unmanned, but it was carrying cargo worth $110 million. This included a space suit, extensive equipment that was supposed to be used for experiments and also food and water supplies.
Due to the fact that he metal strut failed to hold the helium bottle properly, it shifted from its position and caused an explosion that caused the entire rocket to break apart above the coast of Florida. This was the seventh mission that the Falcon 9 rocket was on carrying supplies to the International Space Station.
At the moment, what is left of the rocket is “at the bottom of the ocean” and Space X hopes to recover these parts it soon, by using a submarine.
It remains to be seen if the investigation will reveal new factors that might have contributed to the failure of the Falcon 9 rocket. Elon Musk has Space X specialists already working on new and improved safety measures that might prevent such things from happening in the future.
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