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SpaceX Rocket Failure Sparks Investigation, Rising Concerns

SpaceX could stay grounded for six months as the company investigates the latest mishap.

Over the weekend, SpaceX announced that one of their unmanned rockets exploded while en route to the International Space Station on a mission to deliver supplies. The Falcon 9 rocket traveled about 27 miles into the air before going supersonic and then shattering.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk speculated hours after the explosion via tweet that “there was an overpressure event in the upper stage liquid-oxygen tank.” However this, combined with the later-released statement that SpaceX engineers were “parsing data” to recover the final milliseconds of the flight, suggests that little is known about the cause of the failed rocket launch.

This most recent failure seems to be the latest in a string of unfortunate luck for SpaceX, whom many within the aerospace industry initially deemed a rising star. Now, in order to determine the cause of the rocket’s explosion and to prevent future mishaps, SpaceX has launched a full investigation, thus bringing an abrupt halt to the almost 50 scheduled launches.

According the Los Angeles Times, Roger Rusch of TelAstra (a satellite consulting firm) estimated that SpaceX could stay grounded for six months, which could lead some customers to go elsewhere.

In a statement, SpaceX stated that they are working with their partners to prepare for the potential delays.

“Once the root cause is identified, we will be able to better determine any changes to future launch dates, including Jason-3,” said SpaceX.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell also told reporters that because the private company makes nearly all the parts in the rocket it should make the investigation easier and quicker to execute.

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