SpaceX has announced the delay of its next launch will be longer than anticipated after the June 28 accident that destroyed its ship carrying cargo to the International Space Station.
Owner and operator of the privately held company, Elon Musk, was targeting the next flight for Falcon 9 for September earlier this summer, reports NBC News.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX, said on Monday at a scientific forum in Pasadena the company is still “a couple months away from the next flight.” Shotwell added, “. . . I don’t think any of our customers wants us to race to the cliff and fall again.”
We’re taking more time than we originally envisioned to get back to flight. But I don’t think any of our customers wants us to race to the cliff and fail again.
The June 28 accident involved the company’s Falcon 9 rocket disintegrating two minutes after liftoff, high above Florida’s coast. The rocket was carrying $110 million worth of cargo for NASA.
SpaceX has stated it believes the crash was due to a substandard structural part in the rocket’s upper stage failing, which triggered a chain of events that destroyed the booster, reports The Wall Street Journal.
About two minutes after lift off, a metal strut broke which released a bottle of helium that over-pressurized the second-stage engine. The rocket exploded over the Atlantic Ocean seconds later.
A company official has said that SpaceX expects to submit a detailed report about the cause of the explosion to the U.S. government in September or October.
After the report is submitted, it could take several weeks to schedule a launch date for the next Falcon 9 mission.
The International Space Station has been left dependent on Russian and Japanese freighters for their supplies in the meantime.
And in other SpaceX news, the private aerospace company added another notch to its belt on Tuesday when the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board motioned to cancel the remaining claims in the Blue Origin landing patent, which covers rockets landing at sea. The motion to cancel was actually made by Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin itself in what GeekWire reports to have effectively been an acknowledgement of their having lost the case.