NASA will not publicly release the results of its own investigation into the catastrophic failure of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that launched a Dragon resupply ship into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2015.
After saying it would release a summary of the agency’s investigation, NASA passed the buck to the FAA on an accident that destroyed $118 million worth of cargo the space agency was sending to the International Space Station (ISS).
“Since it was an FAA licensed flight, NASA is not required to complete a formal final report or public summary, and has deferred any additional products related to the matter at this time,” the agency’s Public Affairs Office (PAO) said in an email.
SpaceX provided the following update on the Falcon 9 return to flight this morning:
We are finalizing the investigation into our September 1 anomaly and are working to complete the final steps necessary to safely and reliably return to flight, now in early January with the launch of Iridium-1. This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch.
You will undoubtedly recall that the second stage of a Falcon 9 caught fire and exploded on the launch pad three months ago as it was being fueled for a pre-flight engine test. A Spacecom communications satellite valued at $195 million was destroyed in the accident.
With the failure of the Falcon 9 on Sunday, SpaceX’s only launch vehicle will be grounded for an unknown number of months while engineers identify the cause of the crash and make necessary changes to ensure that failure won’t happen again.
ALEXANDRIA, VA, March 3, 2015 (SpaceCom PR) – SpaceCom, the Space Commerce Conference and Exposition, today announced a new partnership with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) for the November 17-19 event at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas.
In support of NASA’s goal to create a sustainable, commercial space market, SpaceCom will unite global business executives with international space leaders to explore ways for the medical, manufacturing, energy, communications, and transportation sectors to utilize space technologies and achieve competitive advantage. SpaceCom will also examine ways to optimize the use of the International Space Station (ISS) and other Low Earth Orbit (LEO) applications, as well as suborbital commercial activities.
The problem-plagued Zenit launch vehicle returned to flight on Saturday with the successful launch of the Israeli Amos-4 communications satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The 3.5-ton satellite, which was built by Israel Aerospace Industries for Israeli operator Spacecom, will deliver Ka- and Ka-band communications to the portions of the Middle East, Russia and south and east Asia.
This is the first successful flight of the rocket since the failure of a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL on Feb. 1. The launch vehicle crashed into the Pacific Ocean shortly after take-off when its first stage failed, taking the Intelsat 27 satellite down with it.
The Zenit launch vehicle, which has a success rate of just over 85 percent, was originally intended for multiple uses. Four Zenits were attached to the core of the giant Energia launch system designed to lift the Buran space shuttle into orbit. Zenits were also designed to fly separately as a replacement for the Soyuz booster for manned flights and as a satellite launcher.
Hawthorne, CA / Ramat-Gan, Israel, January 29, 2013 (SpaceX PR) – Today, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Space Communication Ltd. (Spacecom) announced an agreement to launch Spacecom’s AMOS-6 satellite on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle. Falcon 9 will insert the communications satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), further enhancing Spacecom’s existing satellite fleet.
The AMOS-6 agreement is the latest in a series of wins for SpaceX. The company closed out 2012 having signed 14 launch contracts—maintaining the company’s position as the world’s fastest growing launch services provider.