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Australia & S. Pacific | Events | Launch Vehicles | Project Failures | Scandals & Investigations | USA

Falcon-1 Launch Failure: SpaceX’s Preliminary Analysis

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Falcon-1: first launch(click to see problem) DID covered the SpaceX’s Falcon-1 and its inaugural launch failure this Monday, as well as the programs impacted by its failure. Now SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has stepped up with a preliminary analysis of what happened: “The good news is that all vehicle systems, including the main engine, thrust vector control, structures, avionics, software, guidance algorithm, etc. were picture perfect. However, at T+25s, a fuel leak of currently unknown origin caused a fire around the top of the main engine that cut into the first stage helium pneumatic system. On high resolution imagery, the fire is clearly visible within seconds after liftoff. Once the pneumatic pressure decayed below a critical value, the spring return safety function of the pre-valves forced them closed, shutting down the main engine at T+29s. It does not appear as though the first stage insulation played a negative role, nor are any other vehicle anomalies apparent from either the telemetry or imaging.” Note that a formal, comprehensive investigation by SpaceX and the U.S. government will follow. Musk adds: Lost: FalconSat-2(click to view full) “I cannot predict exactly when the next flight will take place, as that depends on […]

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