After finally closing the door on the investigation into its failed rocket launch several months ago, the private space transport company SpaceX plans to launch its next rocket on Sunday. Jan. 8.
On September 1, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Amos 6 satellite on board exploded on the launch pad during a static fire test at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. According to Ars Technica, the final conclusion of the investigation into that incident put the blame on one of the rocket’s three composite overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs). They are found inside the rocket’s second stage liquid oxygen tank.
Specifically, the investigation team concluded the failure was likely due to the accumulation of oxygen between the COPV liner and overwrap in a void or a buckle in the liner, leading to ignition and the subsequent failure of the COPV.
The company plans to make some design changes in the CPOVs that should prevent any buckles from happening again. In the meantime, SpaceX hopes its next Falcon 9 launch won’t be as explosive. While the Federal Aviation Administration needs to give the company the final approval, SpaceX still plans at the present time to launch the rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, which will put several Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit.