Falcon 9 explosion could be 'most difficult and complex failure'

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SpaceFlight Insider

10 Sep 2016, 11:00 UTC
Falcon 9 explosion could be ‘most difficult and complex failure’ in SpaceX history

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Photo Credit: Carleton Bailie / SpaceFlight Insider
It has been over a week since the Sept. 1 launch pad explosion that destroyed both the Falcon 9 rocket and $200 million Amos-6 satellite. In that time, SpaceX has shed few details about what exactly happened. In a Sept. 9 post on twitter, the company CEO and founder, Elon Musk, said the failure could be “the most difficult and complex” the NewSpace firm has had to deal with in 14 years.

It happened during a static fire test – something the company does a couple of days before every mission to ensure all systems are working properly. Ordinarily, once fully fueled and the countdown reaches zero, the engines would fire for a few seconds and then shut down.
In a measure to save time, SpaceX and the satellite’s owner, Spacecom, decided to perform the test with the payload already on top – a practice the NewSpace firm only started doing this year. However, some 8 minutes prior to when the first stage’s nine Merlin 1D engines would have ignited, an explosion occurred – but not where anyone might have expected.
A week after the explosion, the Transporter Erector still stands, charred from …

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