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Explosion at kennedy Space Center

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Explosion at kennedy Space Center

Old 6th Sep 2016, 22:40
  #61 (permalink)  
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Most probably wanted to duplicate temperature effects and pressure effects of 2nd stage in relation to first stage- consider that in flight as first stage shuts down- momentary negative g would have some effects on valves and pressurization and fuel sloshing of 2nd stage LOX and fuel tanks. Without a detailed diagram of plumbing, valve types and sequencing one can only speculate. Liquid fueled missiles have been lost due to failures of certain valves needed to mitigate or stop flow effects of momentary negative g..
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Old 6th Sep 2016, 23:43
  #62 (permalink)  
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Ambient, thanks for that - his audio is chopped off up front because the loud sound that predated the first explosion by 5 sec is not heard. That sound is key to the investigation.
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Old 6th Sep 2016, 23:49
  #63 (permalink)  
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Ambient, the loud sound is heard right after the electronic chirp in the original video - this is gone from the sound-sync version.
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Old 7th Sep 2016, 06:38
  #64 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Max Angle View Post
The reports said it was being fuelled for a static engine fire test, why was the second stage being fuelled I wonder? Perhaps something to do with structural considerations or just a test of fuelling process and equipment, it certainly won't have been fired in the test. Any ideas?
Static fire test is in effect a full dress rehearsal for launch, ie. everything that's done for launch is done up to firing the main engines (albeit briefly)

Part of this will be testing the RP-1 and LOX loading systems etc, with super-cooled fuel/LOX temp is everything so load times etc are very critical, if there is a bug in the ground systems, this is when you want to catch them.
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Old 7th Sep 2016, 16:56
  #65 (permalink)  
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In the video, what is the small high-speed object approaching the point of explosion at 1.09 to 1.10? It is traversing from right to left and you can see it for a millisecond between the tops of the two lightening towers on the right. Just focus your sight between the two right towers at this point in the vid and not on the explosion.
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Old 8th Sep 2016, 00:37
  #66 (permalink)  
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Here's one theory:

Was SpaceX rocket hit by a drone?

Video appears to show an object flying into the launcher moments before it exploded

Grainy video appeared to show small object flying over the SpaceX rocket
SpaceX said an 'anomaly' had occurred while it was being loaded with fuel

A massive explosion destroyed the rocket on Thursday - just two days before it was due to blast Facebook's first satellite into orbit

By Daily Mail Reporter
Published: 07:39 EST, 5 September 2016
Was SpaceX rocket hit by a drone? | Daily Mail Online
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Old 8th Sep 2016, 06:31
  #67 (permalink)  
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That is the most stupid....

Can you not clearly see that dot is actually moving WAY too fast for a drone, it also moves _past_ the rocket!

It is a fly or other insect, very close to the camera!
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Old 9th Sep 2016, 16:39
  #68 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by sandos View Post
It is a fly or other insect, very close to the camera!
I doubt a fly or insect close to a telephoto lens focused on a rocket a couple of miles away would be visible as such a small speck. Sometimes you see these bugs on wideangle webcams with tiny sensors but that geometry is quite different I would say. I've been to KSC to photograph a daytime launch on the Atlas pad next to SLC-40 and you do get a lot of out of focus seabirds in the shots, maybe that is what we saw in the video.

Or, maybe not...

Elon Musk is still trying to pinpoint the source of a huge chain of explosions that destroyed SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket last week at Cape Canaveral.

"Still working on the Falcon fireball investigation," Musk said on Twitter. "Turning out to be the most difficult and complex failure we have ever had in 14 years."

The company said that the explosion happened in preparation for a test firing of its engines. Musk revealed Friday that the engines had not yet fired when the explosion took place, adding to the mystery of what caused the blast.

"Important to note that this happened during a routine filling operation," Musk said. "Engines were not on and there was no apparent heat source."

In a reply to a Twitter user's question, Musk said he had not ruled out the possibility that something hit the rocket and caused the fireball.

The SpaceX CEO said he was focused on understanding a "quieter bang sound a few seconds before the fireball goes off." He said the sound may have come from the rocket or another unidentified source.
Elon Musk: SpaceX rocket explosion is 'most difficult' failure in 14 years - Sep. 9, 2016
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Old 3rd Oct 2016, 22:42
  #69 (permalink)  
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An odd shadow and a white spot on a video seem to be focal points of further scrutiny in the investigation:

Implication of sabotage adds intrigue to SpaceX investigation

By Christian Davenport September 30, 2016

The long-running feud between Elon Musk’s space company and its fierce competitor United Launch Alliance took a bizarre twist this month when a SpaceX employee visited its facilities at Cape Canaveral, Fla., and asked for access to the roof of one of ULA’s buildings.

About two weeks earlier, one of SpaceX’s rockets blew up on a launchpad while it was awaiting an engine test. As part of the investigation, SpaceX officials had come across something suspicious they wanted to check out, according to three industry officials with knowledge of the episode. SpaceX had still images from video that appeared to show an odd shadow, then a white spot on the roof of a nearby building leased by ULA, a joint venture between Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The SpaceX representative explained to the ULA officials on site that it was trying to run down all possible leads in what was a cordial, not accusatory, encounter, according to the industry sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

The building, which had been used to refurbish rocket motors known as the SMARF, is just more than a mile away from the launchpad and has a clear line of sight to it. A representative from ULA ultimately denied the SpaceX employee access to the roof and instead called Air Force investigators, who inspected the roof and didn’t find anything connecting it to the rocket explosion, the officials said.
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Old 4th Oct 2016, 05:08
  #70 (permalink)  
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Er, they’re right by the sea and seagulls are often white and like to perch on roofs. Would that not be as good an explanation as any for a white spot and shadow on a grainy video?
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Old 4th Oct 2016, 07:10
  #71 (permalink)  
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US Air Force Investigators called in by a joint Lockheed and Boeing firm? That sounds neutral enough. I like the seagull option.
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Old 4th Oct 2016, 07:15
  #72 (permalink)  
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US Air Force Investigators called in by a joint Lockheed and Boeing firm? That sounds neutral enough. I like the seagull option.
You mean a highly trained seagull on a sabotage mission?
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Old 4th Oct 2016, 07:58
  #73 (permalink)  
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As someone once said there's no such thing as bad publicity is there, good or bad, credible or not?
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Old 4th Oct 2016, 08:45
  #74 (permalink)  
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I was visiting Peenemunde launch site and museum a couple of months ago ( Place where Wernher von Braun designed, manufactured and tested the V2s in late 1930- early 40's.) There I learnt that nearly 1/3 of the rockets fired were exploding on site at the beginning , mostly during the refueling process, and that later in the war a large number of rockets were lost due to sabotage..
Amazing to see how little has changed 70 years later...
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Old 4th Oct 2016, 10:18
  #75 (permalink)  
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Last edited by glad rag; 4th Oct 2016 at 11:06.
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Old 13th Oct 2016, 22:31
  #76 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Needle Knocker View Post
I wonder if it's possible to insure payloads against disasters like that? And if so, what the premium would be?
I'm a little late to the party but yes, there is a whole sub sector of space insurance.

Space insurers warn that current low rates are not sustainable - SpaceNews.com
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Old 3rd Jan 2017, 23:16
  #77 (permalink)  
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An update in this Washington Post article:

Elon Musk’s SpaceX says it has found cause of rocket explosion and plans to fly again Sunday

By Christian Davenport January 2, 2017

Elon Musk’s SpaceX said Monday that it has discovered the cause of a September rocket explosion and plans to return to flight as soon as Sunday.

The conclusions of the company’s investigation have yet to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the agency has yet to provide it a license to launch. But SpaceX’s statement means that it has confidence that federal agencies will approve its remedies for the problem and that it will soon receive the green light.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket exploded while being fueled on a launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of an engine test firing on Sept. 1. No one was on board the rocket, and there were no injuries. But the blast touched off a massive fireball and caused extensive damage, including the loss of a commercial satellite.

In its statement, SpaceX said it traced the cause to a pressure vessel in the second-stage liquid oxygen tank. The tank buckled, the company said, and supercooled liquid oxygen pooled in the lining. The fuel was ignited by breaking fibers or friction.

The company said that in the short term, it plans to change the way it loads fuel. Eventually, it plans to change the design of the pressure vessels to prevent buckling.

SpaceX led the investigation, which was overseen by the FAA, the Air Force, NASA and the National Transportation Safety Board. Shortly after the explosion, Musk had said it was “turning out to be the most difficult and complex failure we have had in 14 years” and asked the public for help. Over the past four months, the investigation took several bizarre twists and turns. Musk said there was a mysterious “bang sound” that may have come from “the rocket or something else” seconds before the explosion. And at one point, SpaceX officials asked for access to the roof of a nearby facility used by rival United Launch Alliance, implying sabotage.
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