Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

SpaceX Scouring Data For Clues To Launch Pad Explosion

Orbcomm Israelis fear satellite loss could set back its space industry
Garry Little | 06 September, 2016, 00:29

In a statement to the TASE, SpaceCom said that "to the best of the company's knowledge, during a ground fueling of the launch rocket of the Amos 6 satellite, the launch rocket exploded, which caused the total loss of the satellite". Damage to SpaceX's Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is still being assessed. SpaceX is one of the few - if not the only - company that places the satellite on the rocket prior to these tests instead of after they are completed. In addition, NASA released a report hours before yesterday's explosion that said SpaceX was unlikely to meet their goal to launch astronauts to the ISS by 2018, and the incident yesterday certainly doesn't make a crewed SpaceX launch any more likely.

The AMOS-6 satellite was meant to expand the reach of SpaceCom's communication services and cost the company about $195 million.

SpaceX declined to comment on its practice of running engine tests with a satellite already attached.

The mishap was also a setback for NASA, which has been counting on the private company to keep the International Space Station stocked with supplies and, ultimately, astronauts. NASA remains confident in its commercial partners, including SpaceX, she said. It was meant to be operational for the next sixteen years.

"As I'm here in Africa, I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent", Zuckerberg said in a statement posted to Facebook.

American experts are speculating about a large, black. unidentified object picked up by video footage hovering in the sky at the moment the fireball rose over the Cape Canaveral launching pad.

The tragic event also impacts Musk's immediate contracts, wherein there is already nine launches expected to be conducted using the Falcon 9 rocket. According to SpaceX, the 39A won't be ready until November, so the remaining eight flights scheduled for the rest of the year may have to wait a little longer. In addition to Facebook's satellite meant to bring internet to an entire continent, Spacecom, an Israeli-based satellite operator, had a satellite onboard. Zuckerberg is travelling all over Africa at present and would have wanted to mark the occasion of the launch of his satellite into orbit as it would have happened on Saturday.

Both locations will be able to accommodate Falcon 9 rockets, like the one lost Thursday, and the newer, bigger Falcon Heavy rockets.

SpaceX painted an optimistic picture, however.

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