The X factor in space flight

Posted on 10/11/2016 by IED

The incident where a SpaceX rocket exploded at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida – the latest of three such occurrences – prompted a backlash in some quarters, with some seizing on it as a disaster waiting to happen.

"At around six launches per year, SpaceX is gathering valuable experience, and each accident brings lessons on how to enhance the integrity of the craft for future missions – for example, the June 2015 explosion was due to a faulty steel strut that allowed helium to escape, which led to enhanced checks for future missions and to further development of the software specifically for abort situations.

"With space missions, even the most advanced simulations cannot replace learning by doing, given the multitude of variables involved and the importance of learning from experience. This explosion will not change the long-term goals of SpaceX, which are to reduce the cost of space flight through the use of reusable rockets and eventually to colonise Mars."

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