By Tamanna Desai
Technology & Innovation Editor
Entrepreneur, engineer and a hero to some, Elon Muskrecently released information in regards to his company’s (SpaceX) rocket explosion that occurred this past September. The Wall Street Journal described the explosion in simple terms, “SpaceX… lost one of its Falcon 9 rockets in an explosion in September… It destroyed an Israeli satellite (that) Facebook Inc. planned to use to provide internet access to people in sub-Saharan Africa.” Investors hope that this 200-million-dollar expense is just a “minor setback” for leading space exploration company SpaceX.
Sources say that this explosion was the result of an imperfect refueling process. According to reuters.com, Musk said that this type of explosion has been experienced for the first time in space rocket history. NASA expressed major concerns over the safety hazards the rockets have. The chemicals during the refueling process reacted terribly with each other which resulted in the explosion. NASA is now worried about talks of potential crew members boarding rockets and sent on missions. When it comes to rocket policies, NASA believes some policies should not change even if technology is changing. For example, NASA has outlined in its procedures that cargo should always be boarded after a rocket is refueled, however, Musk’s rockets did not follow that procedure. Many experts are worried that cutting corners and creating ways to be “innovative” could lead to dangerous incidents if the time to test these innovations are shortened.
Elon Musk in a recent interview with CNBC said that the focus right now is on determining and confirming the cause of the explosion before resuming rocket testing. The incident also destroyed the testing base at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station,therefore, SpaceX will now have to fix the damages incurred before moving forward with their multibillion dollar innovations. In the short term, investors are worried despite Musk’s forecast that rocket launches can recommence a month from now, because investors are not sure if the comeback will be in time for SpaceX’s clients in regards to other products such as satellites that the company owns. SpaceX’s customers are already looking for alternatives in case the company is not able to bounce back in time and carry on with the other projects scheduled for launching later this year. Investors will be watching closely to see if SpaceX is able to overcome the adversity they are facing. Some investors, however, are not worried for the long term because lets face it- Elon Musk can overcome anything he puts his mind to.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 8th print edition.
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