Sunday, March 26, 2006

US Government To Join SpaceX In Investigation Of Falcon Failure Before Next Launch Attempt.

SpaceX's Elon Musk commendably is posting information early, often, and with as much detail as possible about the crash of the Falcon 1 launcher. His March 25, 2006, update message on the company's website states that SpaceX and the US government will do a joint investigation and report on the cause of the accident. (Here.)

Musk suggests the next flight won't occur until after the investigation is complete, he hopes within six months.
"Our plan at this point is to analyze data and debris to be certain that the above preliminary analysis is correct and then isolate and address all possible causes for the fuel leak. In addition, we will do another ground up systems review of the entire vehicle to flush out any other potential issues.

I cannot predict exactly when the next flight will take place, as that depends on the findings of this investigation and ensuring that our next customer is comfortable that all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure reliability. However, I would hope that the next launch occurs in less than six months." (Emphasis added.)
The company's plan sounds reasonable and a bit familiar. When shuttle failed there was a government investigation and the shuttle did not fly again until the investigation completed its findings. Here's hoping SpaceX doesn't get too much grief for being too cautious.

-tdr

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