SpaceX Says Nitrogen Tetroxide Leak Resulted in Destruction of Crew Dragon Vehicle

An instrumented mannequin sit in the Crew Dragon spacecraft for the Demo-1 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

HAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — On Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 18:13 UTC, SpaceX conducted a series of static fire engine tests of the Crew Dragon In-Flight Abort test vehicle on a test stand at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 1, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.


Texas County Approves Incentives Package for SpaceX

Grasshopper on the pad in Texas. (Credit: SpaceX)

Coryell County commissioners in Texas have approved a package of incentives designed to encourage SpaceX to expand its footprint.

The agreement would provide incentives to stimulate, encourage and develop business location and commercial activity in Coryell County in return for which SpaceX would have to maintain a payroll of about $2 million for employees who live in the county.

SpaceX hasn’t publicly announced any plans to expand beyond the more than 4,000 acres it now leases from the City of McGregor, but if the private space exploration company were to expand across the McLennan County line, Oglesby is the community closest to the rocket motor testing facility.

Texas County Forms Spaceport Development Authority

McLennan_County_flagMcLennan County in Texas — which already boasts SpaceX engine test facility in McGregor — has formed a spaceport development corporation whose goal is to bring more space companies to the county.

McLennan County commissioners voted to approve the incorporation of an entity — along with its bylaws and board of directors — that officials say will be the third of its kind in the state.

County Judge Scott Felton said grant funding is available from the state to assist in the creation and development of a spaceport, which is an area to be used for spaceflight activities, including research, development, testing and more…

The board will review business proposals before applying for state funds held in a Spaceport Trust Fund, which is earmarked for infrastructure and other items needed to pursue spaceflight activities.

Collins said the corporation will help bring aerospace companies to the area by gaining state funding for business creation, growth or expansion.

Midland and Cameron counties so far are the only municipalities to have spaceport development corporations, Collins said.

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Waco City Council Approves SpaceX Incentives

Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)
Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX will receive million in incentives to help defray the cost of the expansion of its engine test site in McGregor, Texas:

Waco City Council pledged its share of $3.3 million of city-county incentives Tuesday that will allow SpaceX to expand its rocket testing facility and bring two new businesses to the city.

SpaceX is in line for $3 million in incentives from the Waco- McLennan County Economic Development Corp. in exchange for adding 300 jobs and making $46.3 million in capital improvements to the McGregor facility. McLennan County would provide half the funding, and commissioners are set to vote on the package next week.

Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. said the expansion will create high-paying jobs that will benefit Waco residents, and he sees a bright future for the fast-growing rocket company here.

The expansion would more than double the full-time employment at the McGregor site, which is now 261.

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SpaceX Looks to Expand McGregor Test Site

Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)
Merlin 1D test firing (Credit: SpaceX)

The Waco Tribune reports on SpaceX’s plan to expand its test facility in McGregor, Texas:

The SpaceX rocket-making plant in McGregor is poised to spend $46 million on an expansion that would create 300 new full-time jobs.

Waco City Council on Tuesday will vote on giving Space Exploration Technologies Corp. up to $1.5 million in economic development money.

McLennan County commissioners will vote later this month on allocating $1.5 million to SpaceX for the project, giving the Hawthorne, California-based company a total of $3 million in funds from the Waco-McLennan County Economic Development Corp. war chest used to attract and keep industry.

[SpaceX] began in 2003 using land in McGregor’s industrial park for research and rocket testing, and recently expanded its lease from 922 acres to 4,280 acres.

In a report prepared by the city of Waco’s economic development staff, SpaceX is proposing to invest $46.3 million in the site during the next five years. That will consist of about $32.4 million in real property improvements and $13.9 million in personal property improvements.


SpaceX Statement on McGregor Rocket Explosion

An official statement from SpaceX:

Earlier today, in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX conducted a test flight of a three engine version of the F9R test vehicle (successor to Grasshopper). During the flight, an anomaly was detected in the vehicle and the flight termination system automatically terminated the mission.

Throughout the test and subsequent flight termination, the vehicle remained in the designated flight area. There were no injuries or near injuries. An FAA representative was present at all times.

With research and development projects, detecting vehicle anomalies during the testing is the purpose of the program. Today’s test was particularly complex, pushing the limits of the vehicle further than any previous test. As is our practice, the company will be reviewing the flight record details to learn more about the performance of the vehicle prior to our next test.

SpaceX will provide another update when the flight data has been fully analyzed.

Nitrogen Tanks Rupture at SpaceX’s Texas Test Site

There was an incident at SpaceX’s McGregor test site last night:

Officials said two nitrogen-filled tanks over pressurized and ruptured at the testing site in McGregor around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

No one was reported injured and the escape of gas did not result in an environmental hazard.

People from all across the area reported hearing a loud noise and feeling vibrations….

Everyone has been accounted for and everything had returned to normal operations, McGregor Fire Chief Moe Spradley said.

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