Friday, 24 November, 2017

An experimental SpaceX rocket engine has exploded in Texas

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Theresa Hayes | 09 November, 2017, 19:21

But the fact that SpaceX is going to reexamine its engine design, specifically, could mean that the firm wanted to further increase available thrust with the Block 5 engine, or that the explosion is related to other changes to the base design. No one was injured, but now the company founded by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk once again has to figure out what went wrong with its hardware, as it suspends engine testing during the investigation. It should be noted that this is not the first fiasco space company, as the summer in 2015, the rocket with cargo for the global space station crashed during a failed start. No one was on board and no was injured. Again, no one was hurt.

"We are now conducting a thorough and fully transparent investigation of the root cause", SpaceX spokesperson John Taylor said in a statement to The Verge. The rocket exploded during a routine test but destroyed the engine, rocket and the payload that it was due to launch to space a few days later.

The setback comes as SpaceX is having a record-setting year.

At present, the secretive mission, dubbed "Zuma", is slated to launch on November 16, with a cargo resupply run to the International Space Station, CRS-13, now poised to fly from SLC-40 (returning launch operations to the launch site after more than a year) about three weeks later, on December 4. All of its launches this year (and during the first several months of 2018) are scheduled to fly on the Block 4 variant of the rocket, which uses an earlier Merlin engine.

This isn't the first time a SpaceX rocket or engine has blown up.

SpaceX confirmed that a "Block V" Merlin engine, a new version under development, suffered an anomaly during a qualification test on Sunday at the company's facility in McGregor.

Muck also said that the company is preparing to launch its Falcon Heavy rocket this year.

2017 has been a banner year for SpaceX with 16 missions having been sent aloft, so far, from either KSC's LC-39A or SpaceX's launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California - Space Launch Complex 4E (East). "Major pucker factor, really".