It's a tremendous discovery that could pave the way forward for SpaceX to resume launches.
Scientists have finally traced the explosion of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to the helium system, a huge discovery that is surely a tremendous sigh of relief for the Elon Musk-founded company, as it had struggled for a while to figure out what caused the Sept. 1 explosion during launch on a launch pad in Cape Canaveral in Florida.
The explosion happened during a static flight test as it was preparing to launch the Amos-6 satellite. The company now believes that there was a large breach in the helium system during the test. Ever since that catastrophic explosion, scientists have been trying to unravel the complex problem — a big deal because SpaceX would have had to basically halt its space program until it figured out why a rocket suddenly blew up on the launch pad.
Since then, the Accident Investigation Team has been poring through 3,000 channels of data, reviewing audio and video recordings, and examining debris from the rocket. At this point, the failure may have been in the helium system, which injects helium into fuel tanks to keep them intact during the intense heat of the launcher burning off fuel.
Statement from SpaceX President and COO, Gwynne Shotwell: “We deeply regret the loss of Amos-6. Our number one priority is to safely and reliably return to flight for our customers, and we will carefully investigate and address this issue. We are grateful for the continued support that our customers have expressed to us.”