SpaceX Begins Investigation Into Falcon 9 Rocket Explosion; Gwynne Shotwell Comments

Falcon9SpaceX has initiated an investigation into the cause of the explosion of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket Thursday at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida approximately eight minutes before the rocket’s static fire test.

SpaceX said Friday its probe complies with accident investigation plans that include collection of all potential evidence and formation of an incident investigation group with the supervision of NASA, U.S. Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration as well as industry experts.

The company also noted that it has begun the assessment of approximately 3,000 channels of video and telemetry data that cover a time period of between 35 and 55 milliseconds.

According to the company, the anomaly started at the rocket’s upper stage liquid oxygen tank that resulted in the loss of the space vehicle and the communications satellite payload Amos-6 and damaged the Space Launch Complex 40 launch pad.

“Our number one priority is to safely and reliably return to flight for our customers, and we will carefully investigate and address this issue,” said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president and chief operating officer.

Amos-6 is developed as part of Facebook’s initiative to provide Internet access to remote areas in sub-Saharan Africa through the satellite’s Ka-band capacity.

SpaceX said it has two other launch pads at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and Kennedy Space Center in Florida that are capable to support the company’s future flights.

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