Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk believes he knows the reason for the recent explosion in one of SpaceX’s rockets. According to Musk, a two-foot long metal bar could be the reason for strut failure.
Tesla CEO blames supplier?
The strut was used to hold a helium tank in the rocket, but when it failed, the tank blasted around the compartment resulting into gas leakage, which turned into an explosive drop in the oxygen pressure.
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“This was a purchased part,” Musk said in a press conference on Monday. “We just install it at SpaceX.”
According to Musk, the strut is a very small part of the spaceship, and was manufactured by another company, and SpaceX did not put it through test before launch. Tesla CEO said the part received authorization from a third-party that it would stand the stress of a rocket liftoff. Musk did not mention the name of the company that made strut nor revealed the company that certified it. However, he said SpaceX will give the contract to another supplier, and will do independent testing from now.
Musk said he follows the practice of sending email across the company asking employees if they have any reason to delay the flight, even if their manager do not approve. “The 20th time I send that email, it just seems like its Elon being paranoid again,” Tesla CEO said.
A lesson learned, but the hard way
SpaceX has not launched any other mission after the recent crash, which resulted in a loss worth millions of dollars in revenue, according to Musk. Further,pre, Musk is not expecting any flights before the fall. The SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO said the firm had become complacent over the past seven years, but the crash on June 28 taught them a really important lesson.
SpaceX manufactures all the major components for Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 rocket itself. In the past four years, SpaceX has made 18 successful trips to ISS under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA. The spaceship made by the SpaceX was the first ever commercial vehicle to travel to the space station.
The recent failed unmanned flight was carrying two tons of research equipment, provision for the ISS crew and hardware for the space station, and everything was destroyed in the explosion. SpaceX, which was started in 2002, will continue to pursue a contract renewal with NASA, according to Musk. NASA has already invested more than $80 billion in SpaceX.