SpaceX closer to understanding rocket explosion at pad


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – SpaceX is closer to understanding last month’s rocket explosion at its launch pad.

The company already had targeted the rocket’s helium system as being breached. On Friday, SpaceX said the investigation has been further narrowed to one of the pressurized helium containers, located in the second-stage oxygen tank. SpaceX says it has managed to recreate a system failure in testing and that it can happen entirely through helium-loading conditions. More tests are planned to identify the precise cause.

The company still aims to resume launches by year’s end.

The unmanned Falcon rocket erupted in a fireball Sept. 1 during prelaunch testing at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Both the rocket and the satellite on board were destroyed. Facebook had wanted to use the Israeli-made satellite to spread internet access in Africa.

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