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Jared: Witnessing SpaceX History at ORBCOMM-2

22 Dec 2015, 01:33 UTC
Jared: Witnessing SpaceX History at ORBCOMM-2
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Months of speculation and anticipation over SpaceX’s return to flight, their new Full Thrust Falcon 9 launch vehicle, and their plans to land and recover a Falcon 9 first stage all came to a dramatic conclusion this week in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Following the loss of the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule in what the FAA termed a ‘mishap’ in June 2015, SpaceX had grounded their entire rocket fleet while investigating the cause of the accident as well as attempting to ensure that such an accident would not occur again. In contrast to Orbital ATK’s ORB-3 explosion in the air just above Wallops Island, where launch facilities were damaged and required reconstruction, SpaceX’s efforts only revolved around needing to identify the cause within their own launch vehicle, ultimately determined to be a support unit (a strut, in aerospace terminology) made by a third party under contract to SpaceX, failed under one fifth of its rated design load. This strut’s failure led to the release of helium gas, overpressurizing the rocket’s second stage and leading to the loss of the rocket approximately 2 minutes into flight.
SpaceX has since brought manufacturing of that strut in-house, and after months of ...

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