Tuesday, September 13, 2016

SpaceX: Accident or Incident


“Space is indifferent to what we do; it has no feeling, no design, and no interest in whether or not we can grapple with it. But we cannot be indifferent to space, because the grand, slow march of intelligence has brought us, in our generation, to a point from which we can explore and understand and utilize it. To turn back now would be to deny our history, our capabilities.” –James A. Michener


SpaceX  incident or accident? According to Elon Musk before the ‘fireball’ which occurred during the September pre-launch test, was an inexplicable bang (Fireball is his word, not explosion.)  Want something even odder? The engines were not on meaning there was no heat source. So then one has to wonder certainly ground crews were fueling the Falcon so there was something to ignite, but how did it ignite?


Musk does remain puzzled and refer to this as the most difficult & complex failure to date (in company history) but without knowing why can we even call it a failure?


The trouble appeared to originate around the upper stage's oxygen tank. In fact if you were to watch a video of it you would see at the bottom of the trunk seeming between the inter-stage and the upper most portion a quick outward explosion immediately followed by the tremendous one that occurred below.  While it is extremely hard as I was not there (instead living it vicariously through media) the first portion and the explosion that followed seem to be two separate events. Of course then the continual explosions each setting of the next in some sort of chain reaction make sense; as to both, their locations and the size of the explosion. I apologize that I cannot provide an answer, but I do understand the dilemma. 


With that being said, I have often commented that space is dangerous. Perhaps I should say spacecraft’s are dangerous. You see our planet requires that we fight for every inch up toward space and that requires some really explosive stuff. In other atmosphere’s we may have an easier time, but then again the atmosphere itself may be more volatile.


Accident or Incident; either way, I hope Elon gets the answer soon. I can’t say as I would be surprised with either answer.


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