Nov 07, 2016 01:59 AM EST
NASA Alarmed By SpaceX's Falcon 9 Fueling Plan
NASA is reportedly alarmed over SpaceX's fueling plan for Falcon 9. This comes after the rocket exploded during its launch last Sep. 1.
It was previously reported that Elon Musk and company are still conducting an investigation on SpaceX Falcon 9's explosion. The investigation is currently being focused on the cryogenic helium system inside SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket's second stage liquid oxygen tank.
It was noted that this was the fuel that would have been used to help the rocket's cargo, which is the Amos-6 communications satellite, to move from Low Earth Orbit into Geostationary Transfer Orbit. Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, said that it would be good if the explosion was due to an operational problem and not a design or manufacturing issue.
SpaceX has neither confirmed nor denied the reports yet. Elon Musk and his company are still waiting for the investigation to be completed with the final conclusions before announcing the details to the public.
According to RT, NASA is alarmed over SpaceX's "unique and contrarian fueling process." It seems that the space agency is concerned with the process because it involves people on board the spacecraft.
Last week, NASA's advisory committee issued another warning to SpaceX. Apparently, Elon Musk and his team have not changed its fueling procedures after the Falcon 9 rocket explosion last September.
It was noted that Musk and Gwynne Shotwell, the president of SpaceX, suspected the fueling process to be one of the main reasons of the blast. The explosion happened within 93 milliseconds in the preparation of the spacecraft.
Experts criticize the use of the same fueling process especially when it happens just 30 minutes before the launch. Around this time, the crew would already be required to be strapped to their seats.
Former astronaut and retired Air Force Lt. General Thomas Stafford wrote to NASA and expressed his concerns over the issue. He described SpaceX's fueling process as "a hazardous operation" and noted that the company's approach has been questioned by several experts.
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