SpaceX plans to resume the flights of its rocket Falcon 9 on Monday after having determined the source of the explosion that had destroyed the launcher, and a satellite of israel in September on the shooting range at Cape Canaveral (Florida), according to a spokesperson Friday 6 January.
The california-based company of Elon Musk should launch ten small satellites of the mobile communication firm Iridium from the air base of Vandenberg, California. The launch is scheduled for Monday at 18H22 GMT if weather conditions permit. Iridium indicates that a static test and the final firing of the engines of the Falcon 9 on the shooting range opened the way for the resumption of flights.
last Monday, SpaceX had raised the possibility of a shooting on Sunday but had not yet the green of the civil aviation authorities (FAA). SpaceX said that its investigation on the accident of the 1st of September, that occurred during the filling of fuel, was the result of a failure of one of the three containers of helium under pressure inside the liquid oxygen tank of the second stage of the rocket.
SpaceX had hoped to resume flights of the Falcon 9 as early as November, and then December 16, before to postpone the date to January.
The explosion spectacular of Falcon 9 last September at Cape Canaveral had destroyed a satellite of $ 200 million of the company’s israeli Spacecom, a channel had to be used by the founder and boss of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg with the French operator, Eutelsat, to provide access to the internet in sub-saharan Africa.
The accident occurred fifteen months after a first explosion of a rocket Falcon 9 shortly after takeoff, the 28th of June 2015, which had destroyed a spacecraft Dragon to deliver cargo to the international space Station (ISS).
Before the first setback for the firm, founded in 2002, SpaceX had successfully completed 18 consecutive launches with the Falcon 9, including six on the twelve planned missions to supply the ISS in the framework of a contract of 1.6 billion dollars with Nasa. From 2018, SpaceX must deliver astronauts to the ISS, also under a contract with Nasa. Boeing has also been retained for similar missions.
Prior to his second accident in September, SpaceX had carried out eight launches successfully, even managing several times to make it back in for a nice landing the first stage of its launch vehicle after the shooting. The california-based company has managed this technological feat by landing his launcher on the farm land in Florida, or on a floating barge in the Atlantic. Reuse the first stage of its launch vehicle will allow SpaceX to reuse the expensive part of the rocket within the framework of a strategy to reduce launch costs.