SpaceX All Set For Possible Falcon 9 Relaunch This Sunday, Awaits FAA ApprovalBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
SpaceX is ready for the Falcon 9 relaunch, which could push through this Sunday. Elon Musk and his space company are just waiting for the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration.
In an update on its official website, SpaceX confirmed that the cause of the Falcon 9 rocket explosion has been determined. Officials of the FAA, the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) worked with industry experts to investigate the incident.
The investigators looked into video and telemetry data from over 3,000 channels. They also were able to check the umbilical data, ground-based video as well as physical debris of the Falcon 9. The team concluded that extremely cold liquid oxygen could have pooled in the buckles inside the composite overwrapped pressure vessel (COPV) used by the rocket. Because of breaking fibers or friction, oxygen that pooled in the buckles may have been ignited.
SpaceX has admitted that it will be changing the design to the COPVs to prevent buckles. This will also make loading operations faster.
The Verge noted that SpaceX was required to ground all of its vehicles after the Falcon 9 rocket explosion on Sep. 1. Elon Musk's space company has confirmed that the Falcon 9's expected return to flight will be on Jan. 8.
According to Tech Crunch, it has already loaded up 10 Iridium satellites which will be acting as relay stations for the telecom's mobile voice and data network. It was reported that the 10 satellites from Iridium are the first out of 81 spacecraft that the company will be sending to space.
The company has already delayed its first crewed flight with NASA. Initially, the flight was expected to happen late next year. However, the mission has been postponed to May 2018.
NASA's Commercial Crew Program aims to send astronauts to the ISS and return them safely to Earth. It also aims to provide reliable, cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit on systems that comply with its safety and mission requirements.