SpaceX and NASA are finally saying more about Thursday's rocket explosion — here are their full statements
"We deeply regret the loss of AMOS-6, and safely and reliably returning to flight to meet the demands of our customers is our chief priority. SpaceX's business is robust, with approximately 70 missions on our manifest worth over $10 billion. In the aftermath of yesterday's events, we are grateful for the continued support and unwavering confidence that our commercial customers as well as NASA and the United States Air Force have placed in us.
"Overview of the incident:
- Yesterday, at SpaceX's Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, an [explosion] took place about eight minutes in advance of a scheduled test firing of a Falcon 9 rocket.
- The [explosion] on the pad resulted in the loss of the vehicle.
- This was part of a standard pre-launch static fire to demonstrate the health of the vehicle prior to an eventual launch.
- At the time of the loss, the launch vehicle was vertical and in the process of being fueled for the test. At this time, the data indicates the [explosion] originated around the upper stage liquid oxygen tank. Per standard operating procedure, all personnel were clear of the pad. There were no injuries.
"As for the Launch Pad itself, our teams are now investigating the status of SLC-40. The pad clearly incurred damage, but the scope has yet to be fully determined. We will share more data as it becomes available. SpaceX currently operates 3 launch pads – 2 in Florida and 1 in California at Vandenberg Air Force Base. SpaceX's other launch sites were not affected by yesterday's events. Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base is in the final stages of an operational upgrade and Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center remains on schedule to be operational in November. Both pads are capable of supporting Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches. We are confident the two launch pads can support our return to flight and fulfill our upcoming manifest needs.
"Again, our number one priority is to safely and reliably return to flight for our customers, as well as to take all the necessary steps to ensure the highest possible levels of safety for future crewed missions with the Falcon 9. We will carefully and thoroughly investigate and address this issue."
"Both companies working with the Commercial Crew Program are required to carry numerous additional safeguards including a launch abort system that can be activated while the rocket is still on the launch pad. Those systems must be proven in flight tests before NASA will certify them for missions carrying astronauts. SpaceX tested its launch abort system from the pad successfully in May 2015. Both SpaceX and Boeing plan to further test launch abort systems in 2017.
"NASA and our partners remain committed to meeting the goals of the Commercial Crew Program."