SpaceX close to figuring out rocket failure
Cape Canaveral, Fla. — SpaceX still is trying to figure out what caused its rocket to break apart during liftoff nine days ago, but is getting close to an answer, the company’s chief executive said Tuesday. The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket carrying cargo for the International Space Station had just lifted off on June 28 when the accident occurred. Speaking Tuesday at a conference in Boston, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the trouble appeared to be in the upper stage, with an overpressurization of the liquid oxygen tank. Nevertheless, the California-based company is putting together what he calls a “super-detailed” timeline, millisecond by millisecond. So far, a leading theory has yet to emerge, Musk told attendees of the space station research and development conference. The available data are difficult to interpret, and so “whatever happened is clearly not a sort of simple, straightforward thing,” he said. Nevertheless, he hopes to have something definitive to say by week’s end. “Obviously, it’s a huge blow to SpaceX. We take these missions incredibly seriously,” Musk said.