SpaceX Details Preliminary Investigation Findings

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Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray

SpaceX revealed early findings of its analyses Monday following weeks of intense evaluations and testing. The company said in part:

“Preliminary analysis suggests the overpressure event in the upper stage liquid oxygen tank was initiated by a flawed piece of support hardware (a “strut”) inside the second stage.  Several hundred struts fly on every Falcon 9 vehicle, with a cumulative flight history of several thousand. The strut that we believe failed was designed and material certified to handle 10,000 lbs of force, but failed at 2,000 lbs, a five-fold difference. Detailed close-out photos of stage construction show no visible flaws or damage of any kind.”

To read the complete statement from SpaceX, go to

Investigation Under Way for CRS-7

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SpaceX’s Hans Koenigsmann will lead the investigation into the CRS-7 launch anomaly. For updates on the progress of the investigation and to keep track of the International Space Station’s research and crew, go to and We will update the SpaceX blog here as events warrant. If you find debris, please call 321-867-2121.

Parts for a Third IDA Will Be Assembled

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NASA built two International Docking Adapters for the International Space Station. The second one that was already built and slated to go up on a future flight will remain on that schedule. Parts already available will be built up into a replacement for the first one, said Mike Suffredini, manager of the space station program.

Shotwell: We Will Find Out What Failed and Fix It

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“We’re in an extraordinary position to find out what happened and get back to flight as soon as we safely and reliably can,” said Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX. “We will pour even more effort into finding out every possible source in the future. This doesn’t change our plans, we’re very confident in our team, in our operations team and our technical team.”

Research on ISS Will Rebound – Suffredini

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“This was a loss, but I still expect to be able to fly a lot of research and keep the research going,” said Mike Suffredini, manager of the International Space Station. “It’s not whether you stumble and fall but what you do after you stumble and fall that determines your greatness. We’ve clearly lost some significant hardware that we’ll have to replace and we’ll do that and get on with research on the International Space Station.”

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