The New Year seems to bring new beginnings really, and after many weeks and months of uncertainty over its own future, SpaceX may now be able to say just when it will start launching rockets again.
The company won’t quickly forget its September launchpad explosion which led to the loss of millions of dollars. The company may well have gotten past the mourning phase and it’s now aiming to resume flight by January 8. The company reveals that a Falcon 9 will be carrying an iridium internet satellite into space from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Not only is it planning to get back in operation as soon as possible, it has also been able to narrow down likely causes of accidents to a point where there are solutions that would prevent a repeat of the September accident.
It was reported that the September accident was likely caused by super-cooled liquid oxygen that was building up in a void between a carbon overwrap and a pressure vessel’s aluminum liner. It was stated that the oxygen was trapped in the void, resulting in a friction that can ignite not only the chemical but also the whole rocket. Another thing that made the accident worse was the fact that the loading temperature of helium was very cold, resulting in the creation of solid oxygen, increasing the odds of the oxygen getting stuck in the void and creating friction.