Space X explosion in Cape Canaveral

Space X explosion in Cape Canaveral


vperl | September 1, 2016

Good job | September 1, 2016

Not clear yet, but article implies the rocket may not have been at fault in the runup test, although the rocket and payload were destroyed.

SamO | September 1, 2016

payload destroyed in test is expensive. and bad for business reliability. Good thing they are the only game in town. For now.

bmalloy0 | September 1, 2016

Once they start regularly reusing rockets, they're gonna be the only guys in town for a long time. They'll be able to undercut every other bidder.

brando | September 1, 2016

SpaceX launches cheaper than anyone already.
Backlog of about 40 missions. Nasa alone want over $4billion of launches booked for International Space Station?
Near $10 billion in backlog, I think.

AirBus working on an alternative re-use/lower cost launch system.
ULA is considering what to do.

dansplans | September 1, 2016

How much are the insurance premiums?

SCCRENDO | September 1, 2016

Do we know that this kind of thing is insurable?? If not who is out of pocket and for how much?

dansplans | September 2, 2016

Facebook lost a satellite. Those usually run hundreds of millions to billions.

Anything is insurable if you are willing to pony up the premiums.

Nexxus | September 2, 2016

Having worked for their competitor, the payloads are always insured, but not the rocket. The rocket manufacturer usually self-insures the launcher. Insurance premiums usually run about 1/3 of the payload cost. Expensive, yes, but worth it in case something goes wrong. Looks like the second stage oxygen tank blew up. Probably a spark from a harness that wasn't properly wired to a ground point. They are still a young company and will learn from this.

rlwrw | September 2, 2016

"Probably a spark from a harness that wasn't properly wired to a ground point. They are still a young company and will learn from this."
You make it sound like SpaceX is a bunch of back yard rocket enthusiasts with their little Estes rockets. They're professionals.
Based on what I have seen in the video after stepping through frame by frame, I see at least three scenarios:
The explosion appears to ignite just inches below the fuel line connecter at the second stage, indicating a vapor ignition which also indicates a leak.
It's possible that the hookup was not connected properly. Discounted because on these connections, it's either latched or not. No in-between.
Dealing with the super cold LOX has caused micro cracks, and damaged the connection mechanism. This is the most likely scenario. No other launcher wants to mess with super cold LOX.
Sabotage. It was an Israeli owned satellite, and I can think of several entities that would like to see it never fly.
Of course we will not know until all the evidence and facts are gathered. Stay tuned.

Silver2K | September 2, 2016

Satellites usually go for 150 mil, not billions.

UnshodBob | September 2, 2016

Google says the satellite was £150 million = $200 million

11 hours ago - FaceBook satellite explosion ... up Facebook's £150million [$200 million USD] internet satellite. ... The Israeli made Amos-6 satellite (pictured) was carrying ... on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload.

Silver2K | September 2, 2016

Prices went up I guess. Last time Elon spoke about satellites to Congress, he said the satellites are 150mil+90mil totalling 240 mil. Per launch. He said it basically getting a free satellites compared to ULA launch cost

Ross1 | September 4, 2016

Poor Elon Musk: article

http://www.telegraph DOT co DOT uk/science/2016/09/02/the-spacex-explosion-is-just-a-setback-nothing-can-stop-the-priv/

Ross1 | September 4, 2016

@vperl: stalking you again: what do you mean by good job?

brando | September 26, 2016

LOX - If oxygen [O2] was very flammable we could burn just plain old air it in our car engines.
The diesel fuel RP1 will of course burn, but needs some heat to get started, especially since RP1 is almost frozen. Note that the Satellite has a rocket engine/fuel to get to and stay in Geosynchronous orbit.

https://en.wikipediaDOTorg/wiki/Amos-6 read for more details, below just cut & paste.
Because the satellite was destroyed prior to the launch, the cost of the satellite is not covered by Spacecom's insurance policy, but rather by the manufacturer, IAI. IAI has its own insurance, and will file a claim in order to compensate Spacecom. Spacecom's contract with SpaceX specifies Spacecom can choose to receive $50 million, or a future flight at no cost.


some suggestions for internet searches
spaceX insurance for launches

mike.e | September 26, 2016

@brando While LOX/O2 isn't flammable by itself, as O2 concentration increases things that are not normally considered highly flammable become so. Even cheese puffs can be highly flammable. See: https://wwwDOTyoutubeDOTcom/watch?v=lHo-NcSaQwU

brando | October 3, 2016

Did you notice the blow torch?
So what was the heat source that caused spacex explosion? Isn't that the mystery?
Also the oxygen didn't burn by itself.

mike.e | October 3, 2016

@brando Of course I noticed the blow torch, a very useful ignition source for that demonstration. The mystery is both the source of the fuel/oxidizer mixture and the ignition source. My point was that with high concentrations of gaseous O2 (or LOX) almost anything might be considered a fuel for rapid combustion, not just the RP1 in the tanks.

Mike83 | October 3, 2016

I read they are investigating a possible sabotage also.

brando | October 3, 2016

But the heat source is the key.
First it something has to be hot enough to ignite.
No heat, nothing burns no matter how much oxygen around. That's all I'm pointing out.

Yes, I know oxygen is required for something to burn. Some even call it oxydation.
And you are correct, some fuel must also come from somewhere. RP1 so cold near freezing, a long way from flash point or boiling point. A strange mystery indeed.

David N | October 3, 2016

Local news tonight reported looking into possible sabotage

Ross1 | October 4, 2016

http://gizmodo DOT com/spacex-reportedly-investigating-sabotage-as-cause-of-fa-1787365855

The first source appears to be The Wall Street Journal.
Isnt that the enemy of all things Musk?

Ross1 | October 4, 2016

Sorry, apology to WSJ. It was Washington Post:

Implication of sabotage adds intrigue to SpaceX investigation
Watch the devastating SpaceX explosion up close Embed Share Play Video1:36
A Falcon 9 rocket set to take a satellite into space on Labor Day weekend exploded during testing days before. Courtesy of (USLaunchReport)
By Christian Davenport September 30

The long-running feud between Elon Musk’s space company and its fierce competitor United Launch Alliance took a bizarre twist this month when a SpaceX employee visited its facilities at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and asked for access to the roof of one of ULA’s buildings.

About two weeks earlier, one of SpaceX’s rockets blew up on a launchpad while it was awaiting an engine test. As part of the investigation, SpaceX officials had come across something suspicious they wanted to check out, according to three industry officials with knowledge of the episode. SpaceX had still images from video that appeared to show an odd shadow, then a white spot on the roof of a nearby building leased by ULA, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The SpaceX representative explained to the ULA officials on site that it was trying to run down all possible leads in what was a cordial, not accusatory, encounter, according to the industry sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The building, which had been used to refurbish rocket motors known as the SMARF, is just more than a mile away from the launchpad and has a clear line of sight to it. A representative from ULA ultimately denied the SpaceX employee access to the roof and instead called Air Force investigators, who inspected the roof and didn’t find anything connecting it to the rocket explosion, the officials said.

The interaction between SpaceX and ULA has not been previously reported. It is the latest odd development in the mystery surrounding the explosion of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Sept. 1. The rocket blew up while it was being fueled ahead of an engine test fire, creating a huge fireball that charred the launchpad and rattled buildings miles away.

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Elon Musk, SpaceX’s founder and chief executive, has called the failure “the most difficult and complex” the company has ever had. About a week after the explosion, he pleaded with the public to turn in video or audio recordings of the blast and said that the company has not ruled out sabotage as a factor.

“Particularly trying to understand the quieter bang sound a few seconds before the fireball goes off,” he wrote on Twitter. “May come from rocket or something else.”

Since then, SpaceX, which is leading the investigation with help from the Air Force, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration, said it is narrowing down on the cause of the explosion, focusing on a breach in a second-stage helium system.

At a conference in Mexico this week, Musk said that finding out what went wrong is the company’s “absolute top priority,” but he said what caused the explosion is still unknown.

“We’ve eliminated all of the obvious possibilities for what occurred there,” he said. “So what remains are the less probable answers.”

He didn’t say what those might be.

The Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, which is helping SpaceX with the investigation, declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing.

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A SpaceX statement said that the “Accident Investigation Team has an obligation to consider all possible causes of the anomaly, and we aren’t commenting on any specific potential cause until the investigation is complete.”

SpaceX and ULA are heated rivals that are competing over national security contracts that together are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. For nearly a decade, ULA had a monopoly on those contracts as the only launch provider certified by the Air Force.

But in 2014, SpaceX sued the Air Force for the right to compete. Last year, the parties settled and SpaceX was finally granted its certification. As a result, ULA fired its chief executive and hired a new one who vowed to compete with SpaceX.

This week, 10 Republican House members, many friendly to ULA, told NASA that SpaceX should not be leading the investigation and that authority should be turned over to the federal government.

Even though the investigation continues, SpaceX has said it intends to return to flight as soon as November, a timeline that has drawn industry skepticism.