SpaceX to launch from LC39A before year’s end?
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — After the loss of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the $195 million Amos-6 satellite it carried on Sept. 1, 2016, an array of thoughts permeated the Internet as to how and when the NewSpace firm might return to flight. SpaceFlight Insider reached out to the Hawthorne, California-based firm and received a reply as to when the firm is currently eyeing to return the vehicle to service.
The company’s COO and President, Gwynne Shotwell, has said she believes that SpaceX will be able to conduct as many as two flights before the close of the year.
Specifics about the amount of damage at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 40 in Florida has been somewhat limited; however, reports have appeared that suggest SpaceX might use Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A (of which the company has a 20-year lease with NASA to use) to resume flights of the Falcon 9.
SpaceFlight Insider received a report that SpaceX was considering to conduct a launch from LC39A on Dec. 17–18. It was not known which mission is supposed to take flight during this attempt. SpaceFlight Insider reached out to SpaceX seeking confirmation of this.
“We are continuing to make progress with our anomaly investigation and working to return to flight safely and reliably. We anticipate launching as early as November, but [we] have not announced any specific dates at this time,” a SpaceX spokesperson told SpaceFlight Insider.
In an update on SpaceX’s website, the company stated that the failure was caused by a “large breach” in the cryogenic helium system of the rocket’s second stage liquid oxygen tank. What exactly caused the breach is still under investigation, but Shotwell said the company is “homing in” on the issue.
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.