Space & Astronomy
SpaceX solves mystery of Falcon 9 explosion
November 5, 2016 | 5 comments
The explosion was an unexpected setback for the company. Image Credit: NASA/Jim Grossmann
The private space firm has finally figured out what caused its rocket to explode back in September.
SpaceX made headline news two months ago when one of its Falcon 9 rockets, which had been set to carry a commercial satellite in to orbit, spectacularly exploded on the launch pad.
The firm has since been carrying out an investigation in an effort to find out what happened.
Last week there were indications that the explosion may have had something to do with the rocket's three carbon fiber helium tanks. As it turns out, the liquid oxygen fuel actually froze solid as it was flowing in to the rocket's second stage, triggering a chain reaction of explosions.
During a recent interview, CEO Elon Musk described the issue as a "really surprising problem that's never been encountered before in the history of rocketry."
"[It] involves a combination of liquid helium, advanced carbon fiber composites and solid oxygen," he said. "Oxygen so cold that it actually enters solid phase."
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