SpaceX Rocket Engine Suffers Failure During Test (Updated)

An blast occurred during a exam of a SpaceX Merlin engine on Saturday (Nov. 4) during a company’s exam trickery in McGregor, Texas, according to a matter performed by Space.com. 


“No one was harmed and all reserve protocols were followed during a time of this incident,” according to a statement. “We are now conducting a consummate and entirely pure review of a base cause.”

The blast occurred during a exam of a “Block 5” Merlin engine, that will be used in a destiny era of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets, a source told Space.com. Falcon 9 rockets that are now in operation implement a “Block 4” Merlin engine, so a occurrence will not need a association to hindrance any of a scheduled launches. 

“SpaceX is committed to a stream perceptible and we do not pattern this to have any impact on a launch cadence,” a matter said.

The occurrence occurred during a “LOX drop” test, in that an engine is filled with glass oxygen fuel and tested for leaks, according to a source. The engine did not glow during this test. At some indicate during a test, a glass oxygen ignited; a association does not know if a engine itself exploded, a source said. The exam brook where a blast took place might take dual to 4 weeks to repair.

SpaceX anticipates that a full review into a occurrence will take several weeks. The blast was initial reported by The Washington Post.

SpaceX’s launch news has been flattering packaged this year. SpaceX has already launched 16 missions, all of them successful, in 2017 — twice as many as a prior high in a calendar year. And all though 3 of these missions also concerned landings of a Falcon 9 initial stage, for contingent refurbishment and reuse. (During a other 3 launches, no alighting was attempted.)

The reuse of rockets and upholder will condense a cost of spaceflight, heading to larger scrutiny opportunities, SpaceX owner and CEO Elon Musk has said.

SpaceX has knowledge questioning accidents. In Sep 2016, a Falcon 9 exploded on a launch pad during a slight preflight test, destroying a rocket and a payload, a Amos-6 communications satellite. The association traced a problem to a pattern smirch in one of a helium canisters inside a rocket’s second-stage liquid-oxygen tank.

In Jun 2015, a Falcon 9 pennyless detached reduction than 3 mins after liftoff, scuttling an uncrewed load run to a International Space Station by SpaceX’s Dragon capsule. That collision was caused by a disaster of a singular steel strut inside a second stage, a association determined.

Nobody was harm in possibly of these incidents.

SpaceX has several some-more Falcon 9 missions on daub for 2017, and a association also aims to launch a outrageous new Falcon Heavy upholder for a initial time before a finish of a year.

Correction: This story was updated during 6:48 p.m. EST to scold a date of a SpaceX Merlin rocket engine mishap. It occurred Saturday, Nov. 4, not Sunday, Nov. 5, according to a SpaceX statement. 

Space.com comparison author Calla Cofield contributed to this report. Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.


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