Explosion rattles windows during SpaceX test in Texas
The Waco Tribune (TX) reported an explosion at SpaceX’s facility in McGregor, Texas, on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The explosion, which occurred during a pressurization test at the company’s research and development facility, caused no injuries or damage and the local fire department did not take action after the incident.
A loud sound
According to the Tribune report:
“The sound heard by residents was actually the result of a pressurization test at the McGregor Rocket R&D facility. These tests take place periodically at the site, and this particular test was part of the ongoing testing being conducted by our Accident Investigation Team,” SpaceX spokesman Phil Larson said in an email response to questions. “The volunteer fire department responded as a matter of procedure, but there was no damage to the site or injuries to any personnel.”
SpaceX is continuing to investigate the cause of the Sept. 1 Falcon 9 explosion that destroyed the launch vehicle and Amos-6 satellite payload at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida.
The most recent statements by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk indicated the Sept. 1 explosion occurred due to the formation of solid oxygen within the carbon fibers of the helium pressurization tank.
The Tribune reports SpaceX pays the city of McGregor $544,165 a year to lease land in its industrial park. The company expects to increase its local workforce to nearly 600 employees. As of this writing, neither SpaceX nor Musk had commented about the incident on the company’s blog or Twitter feed.
Bart Leahy is a freelance technical writer living in Orlando, Florida. Leahy's diverse career has included work for The Walt Disney Company, NASA, the Department of Defense, Nissan, a number of commercial space companies, small businesses, nonprofits, as well as the Science Cheerleaders.