SpaceX May Be Grounded For 1 Year After Falcon 9 Launch Failure, Is This The End?

DSCOVR satellite launch
Just before sunset at 6:03pm ET on Wednesday, Feb. 11th, Falcon 9 lifted off from SpaceX’s Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. carrying the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite on SpaceX’s first deep space mission. Flickr/SpaceX CC BY 2.0

SpaceX is now facing a terrible failure after an explosion happened on the launch site of the company’s Falcon 9 rocket. The private space company is likely to be grounded for nine to 12 months to fix the damages and get people to work back for flight again. What is Elon Musk’s stand on this issue?

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SpaceX’s prime US competitor, United Launch Alliance had an interview with Reuters. And ULA’s chief executive Tory Bruno said, “It typically takes nine to 12 months for people to return to flight. That’s what the history is.”

On September 1, SpaceX had an issue with an explosion from Falcon 9 booster which was being prepared for the routine pre-launch test. The blast was so strong a nearby $200-million Israeli communications satellite was destroyed. This is Elon Musk’s second failed mission in the last 14 months, as reported by Business Insider.

The accident is now under investigation, but SpaceX did not publicly disclose the damages that occurred to their launch pad.

During the interview, Bruno said that the biggest problem for accidents like this is the need to always figure out “what went wrong on the rocket, being confident that you know … how to fix it and then actually getting that fix in place.” He continued by saying that the problem is not on repairing the damages. “Historically, it had never been the pad that’s taken the longest time.”

The interview happened on Thursday hours before the ULA was preparing to launch its 111th rocket which was all successful. He also confirmed that he called SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell to extend his deepest sympathies and offer aid.

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SpaceX and ULA are close rivals for private space missions. The latest bid was won by Musk where the company signed a $83 million Air Force contract to launch a Global Positioning System satellite in 2018. After this incident, experts believe that the two firms are likely to square off over another bid closing on September 19.

Bruno declined to disclose any of their plans to win the coming bid. “It is still a priced-only competition, which I think is unfortunate and not necessarily, in our view, the best way to select this type of complex and risky service,” he said.

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