SpaceX delays next launch after blast

Space X's Falcon 9 rocket as it lifts off from space launch complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida on June 28, 2015 with a Dragon
Space X's Falcon 9 rocket as it lifts off from space launch complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, Florida on June 28, 2015 with a Dragon CRS7 spacecraft

SpaceX said Monday it has delayed by a couple of months the return to flight of its Falcon 9 rocket, following an explosion on the way to the space station in June.

The company's chief executive, Elon Musk, had said previously that the rocket would launch no earlier than September, after a failed strut was blamed for the rocket's demise just minutes after takeoff on June 28 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

"It's taking more time than we originally envisioned to get back to flight," SpaceX chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell told a spaceflight conference in Pasadena, California.

"We're a couple of months away from the next flight."

The blast destroyed what was supposed to be a routine cargo mission to the International Space Station and caused NASA at least $110 million in lost equipment.

Musk, the billionaire cofounder of PayPal who also heads Tesla Motors, said that SpaceX had had a seven-year record of safety in flight until the accident happened.

Shotwell said the problem was relatively easy to fix, and that engineers were just being extra cautious in the hunt for other potential issues.

"What we wanted to do was to take advantage of the lessons that we learned from that particular failure and make sure we're not seeing something like that anywhere throughout the vehicle," she said at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' Space conference.


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Sep 01, 2015
I'm a bit surprised to see SpaceX already about to launch a rocket after a failure, while Orbital Sciences -as far as I know- hasn't launched anything ever since their own failure almost a year ago. I hope they did not give up entirely.

Sep 01, 2015
I'm a bit surprised to see SpaceX already about to launch a rocket after a failure, while Orbital Sciences -as far as I know- hasn't launched anything ever since their own failure almost a year ago. I hope they did not give up entirely.


Well, NASA is SpaceX:s biggest and possibly only customer at this point while they toy around with the prototype launchers. NASA is willing to throw money down a hole even at the risk of another failure, whereas Orbital relies more on commercial customers who need reliable delivery of satellites to orbit and those are more easily scared away.

It's btw. not Orbital Sciences but Orbital ATK now. They've had a merger, and a re-design to use a different engine in the Antares rocket which is the reason for the year-long delay.

The new engines arrived from Russia in August: http://spacefligh...ch-site/

More info: http://spacefligh...tal-atk/

Sep 01, 2015
@Eikka: You stated "Well, NASA is SpaceX:s (sic) biggest and possibly only customer at this point..." Hardly.
This one story (spacenews.com/spacex-failure-leaves-long-list-of-customers-in-the-lurch/), lists six commercial customers -- some launching several satellites -- as well as several non-commercial customers that aren't NASA. SpaceX, indeed the launch business segment as whole, has become bigger than many realize.

Sep 01, 2015
Yes, Orbital had to switch to a new engine. That's not trivial. Space-X's failure mode was much simpler to fix.

Space-X could already be launching, but Musk decided - correctly - that the failure was due to a bad supplier *plus* a systematic trust in suppliers that should not be present in his own company. Spaceflight is hard and expensive; everything has to be checked.

I'm surprised we haven't heard of a Space-X lawsuit against their unnamed supplier of crap that didn't meet their specifications.

Sep 02, 2015
Good on you Space X, cautious as ever, lets see a safe return to flight!

Oct 08, 2015
I am a little frustrated at the lack of "new" launch schedules from Space X! I keep getting old articles on old launches!
I want to know what is going on "Now"!!!
The next launch date should be pretty close now, as I am sure that they have worked out all the possible problems--but you have to keep flying!

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