SpaceX has said it plans to launch on Jan. 8 the first batch of satellites for Iridium Communications’ NEXT constellation after it determined the cause of the Sept. 1 explosion of the Falcon 9 rocket, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Christian Davenport writes the Elon Musk-owned company found that the explosion was caused by a pressure vessel in the second-stage liquid oxygen tank that led the tank to buckle due to supercooled liquid oxygen.
SpaceX also plans to make changes to the pressure vessels’ design in order to prevent the buckling issue.
SpaceX conducted the investigation in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, U.S. Air Force and the National Transportation Safety Board and is yet to receive approval from FAA to resume rocket launches, Davenport reports.
Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in his Twitter posts that fueling and encapsulation work on the first 10 satellites are completed and that all seven Falcon 9 rockets that will be used for satellite launches will be new, according to a report by Ken Kremer for Universe Today.
The rocket with Iridium’s satellites will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.