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 http://www.spacex.com/news/2015/07/20/crs-7-investigation-update
SpaceX has established a recovery hotline and email address for anyone who finds debris from the SpaceX CRS-7 mission. The phone number should be active by 4 p.m. EDT.
Debris Recovery Hotline: 866-392-0035
Debris Recovery Email: recovery@spaceX.com
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 www.nasa.gov/spacex and www.nasa.gov/station. We will update the SpaceX blog here as events warrant. If you find debris, please call 321-867-2121.
The investigation team will study telemetry from 3,000 channels that were transmitted during the launch of CRS-7, Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX said. “If there’s something there, we’re going to find it.”
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.
Recovery vessels in the area will recover whatever debris they find, SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell said. “We obviously want to recover anything we can.”
International Space Station Manager Mike Suffredini said the agency will work with the students who lost experiments on CRS-7 and get them launched on a future flight so the research can still take place.
NASA will apply what is learned from the investigation of this anomaly and apply it where possible to future designs, said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator of the Human Exploration and Operations directorate.
“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.”
“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.”