Musk is also mulling to launch the company’s first ever Falcon Heavy rocket
SpaceX has confirmed that it has lost one of its rocket engines due to an explosion earlier this week, which according to the company is currently being investigated.
According to SpaceX, its Merlin engine that was prepared to power up the future missions exploded in its facility in Texas during the “qualification test.”
SpaceX has confirmed that nobody was injured during the unexpected explosion of the rocket engine but the company’s founder and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has a new task at his hand – figuring out what went wrong with the next generation engine.
This isn’t the first time that SpaceX is put in such an awkward situation. In 2015, its much-touted Falcon 9 rocket exploded just a few minutes after lift-off, reducing to ashes tons of cargo that were supposed to be served to International Space Station.
Last year, another Falcon 9 exploded while being fuelled in the Launchpad ahead of its testing and fortunately in both the mishaps nobody got injured.
The company told Washington Post on Wednesday that it is “now conducting a thorough and fully transparent investigation of the root cause” of the explosion. “SpaceX is committed to our current manifest, and we do not expect this to have any impact on our launch cadence.”
After SpaceX confirmed about the explosion, a spokesperson said the engine was new and hasn’t yet been flown and all further testing with the same series of engines have been suspended till the investigation sheds light on the cause of the explosion.
The explosion has caused damage to the testing stand forcing SpaceX to discontinue the testing of its other engines until the test pad gets repaired.
The explosion has caused a dent in an otherwise successful year of SpaceX, which conducted 16 launches this year without glitches. This year also saw SpaceX doubling the number of launches.
SpaceX has partnered with NASA and by next year it is expected to deliver supplies for astronauts in ISS. In addition to this, they have also invested in flying commercial satellites.
SpaceX is also silently deploying satellites for Pentagon and US Air Force. According to Washington Post, Officials of US Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center were at SpaceX’s test site during the explosion.
SpaceX was scheduled to launch Falcon9 rocket powered by Merlin engine at least three more times this year and the current explosion has caused worries about the success of its upcoming mission – a national security mission, which is scheduled for next week from Kennedy Space Centre.
Meanwhile, Musk is also mulling to launch the company’s first ever Falcon Heavy rocket, which will be propelled by 27 first-stage engine as he had earlier warned that it too could explode.