The SpaceX program has been grounded since September, when one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded while refueling. The investigation is still ongoing, though SpaceX hopes to have it wrap up soon. While people wait for its result, people wonder about the SpaceX Falcon 9. Would future travel to the International Space Station be unlikely for it?
This concern has come, in part because of a controversial fueling procedure that SpaceX has recently revealed for the Falcon 9. This procedure would have the rocket's crew be in the capsule first before refueling. This has become the cause for concern, especially in light of the accident last September 1.
While this procedure is cause for concern, it has actually been done before, at least in the early days of NASA's space program. In 1962 this was the procedure used when John Glenn orbited the Earth. Glenn entered the Mercury spacecraft before the rocket has been fueled. This procedure though has not been done in 50 years, as noted by Popular Science.
Manned SpaceX missions won't start until late 2017, or possibly even 2018. SpaceX is working with NASA on refining the procedures for a named mission. It could still be possible that the procedure to have the crew into the capsule first before the rocket is fueled would be changed. Currently, NASA and SpaceX are evaluating the procedure.
Earlier it has been reported that SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has said that the program will likely resume with launches in mid-December. SpaceX is still waiting for the result of the investigation. It is not yet clear what caused the explosion last September 1, though on SpaceX's website it is being speculated that a breach in the helium bottle of the second stage booster might have caused it. The investigation so far has not revealed the actual cause of the incident.
It has not been revealed yet where the launches would be done once SpaceX is cleared to resume them. Musk in his interview did not disclose it, though SpaceX is maintaining a launch pad at Kennedy Space Station in Florida, as Phys Org reports. Another site is at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
With the Space X Falcon 9 missions still grounded, people are asking: would future travel to the International Space Station be unlikely? That is still not certain, as the investigation continues. What is likely is that the SpaceX program would resume before the year ends.