SpaceX Sets Goal To Resume Flights By November After Falcon 9 Explosion
SpaceX might have suffered a setback when its Falcon 9 rocket exploded, but recent reports state that the space firm is ready to resume its program. Flights would resume by November, as its President has said in a conference in Paris.
Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said that flights would resume sometime November. It was her first public appearance since the accident last September 1, which destroyed the Falcon 9 along with an Israeli telecommunications satellite which Facebook was planning to use in order to improve internet connection in Africa, Bloomberg noted.
At the Paris conference, Shotwell also said that Space Exploration Technologies Corp. would take another look at the rocket, though she did not elaborate as to what would be done. The cause of the rocket explosion is still being determined, and a full-scale investigation is underway.
Though the Falcon 9 rocket was destroyed last September 1, a source close to SpaceX's plans said that the first flight on November would be a Falcon 9 rocket, according to Reuters. It would not be the Falcon Heavy rocket, which was scheduled earlier before the explosion occurred.
The Falcon Heavy would be the largest rocket that the SpaceX program would launch, having 27 engines to the Falcon 9's nine engines. The Falcon Heavy would likely see a launch early 2017 instead.
SpaceX will be using the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in November, though it also maintains a launch site on the West Coast in Vandenberg Air Force base. The West Coast site could also support a launch this November if needed.
SpaceX has hoped to use the West Coast site for a launch this September for Iridium Communications Inc. Pending the investigation's results, all launches have been postponed. SpaceX as of now is said to have a backlog of around 70 missions. Before the accident, it has flown the Falcon 9 27 times with only one failure.
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