SpaceX halted all launches when one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded on the launchpad. It has taken the company a couple of months to figure out exactly what went wrong. The company will now take the relevant steps to ensure that something like this never happens again and that its customers can continue to trust that SpaceX is going to get their cargo up into space without setting it on fire even before it’s taken to the air.
During an appearance on CNBC, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the explosion was due to a “really surprising problem that’s never been encountered before in the history of rocketry.”
SpaceX said last week that it expected that the problem had something to do with one of the three carbon fiber helium tanks that are inside the main fuel tank. The liquid oxygen fuel basically froze solid as it flowed into the rocket’s second stage and that’s what caused the explosions.
While Musk didn’t go into the details of how the frozen oxygen might have affected the helium tanks, he did confirm that SpaceX engineers had been able to replicate a ruptured helium tank. “It basically involves a combination of liquid helium, advanced carbon fiber composites and solid oxygen,” he said.
SpaceX recently said that it’s going to resume rocket testing in the near future, it hopes to send one up in space by next month.