SpaceX Rocket Engine Explodes During Test In Texas

SpaceX Rocket Engine Explodes During Test In Texas

The Block 4 engine has already been extensively tested and proven safe, so there should be no reason to postpone the rest of this year's launches. One of the two cells was damaged during the anomaly and will need about two to four weeks of fix, as SpaceX noted. Alternately, of course, it could have been a one-off issue caused by a defect in this specific engine. The engine being tested was one of SpaceX's Block 5 engines, the upcoming engine model to replace the current Block 4 design.

Less than two weeks before its next scheduled launch SpaceX suffered a setback.

The aerospace company, founded by billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk, has pulled off 16 rocket launches in 2017. Until recently all launches SpaceX successfully carried out.

SpaceX is investigating why one of its rocket engines exploded during a test fire earlier this week at the company's facility in Texas, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Space.com reported that SpaceX was testing a Block 5 engine, which is set to be used in a future generation of the Falcon 9 rocket.

"All safety protocols were followed during the time of this incident", said a company spokesman, John Taylor.

The company said Tuesday in response to questions that it is "now conducting a thorough and fully transparent investigation of the root cause" of the explosion. "SpaceX is committed to our current manifest and we do not expect this to have any impact on our launch cadence".

That doesn't mean the company doesn't have a problem or delays to deal with, though.

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In terms of Sunday's accident, SpaceX has encountered anomalies before.

SpaceX was testing an experimental new version of its Merlin rocket engine at the time of the blast, a company source who is familiar with the matter told Business Insider. At some point during the testing process, something caused the liquid oxygen to ignite, destroying the engine and damaging the pads. What do the photos show?

A company spokesperson said the anomaly occurred when liquid oxygen was being loaded into the engine during an operation known as a "LOX drop".

A Falcon 9 rocket launches with cryogenic fog trailing it into the sky on January 14, 2017.

Block 5 engines haven't flown yet.

The 1st stage Merlin test stand at McGregor is composed of two test cells.

Then, in September 2016, another Falcon 9 experienced a rapid unscheduled break down; again, no one was killed or hurt.