NASA Deems SpaceX’s Dangerous And Possibly Explosive Trick For The Fuelling Rockets ‘Viable’: SpaceX has seen a lot of success lately, with over 50 launches of their Falcon 9 rocket completed, and a successful launch of their Falcon Heavy rocket which carried a car into space.
NASA Deems SpaceX’s Dangerous And Possibly Explosive Trick For The Fuelling Rockets ‘Viable’
And while rocket launches are indeed not pure, SpaceX has shown an ability to work quickly compared to space agencies like NASA who spend much more time developing similar rockets.
Fast work requires a few shortcuts, and SpaceX has mostly avoided disasters resulting from these shortcuts, although one such alternative a method for storing extra fuel in the rocket for more significant launches has attracts NASA attention.
There was a talk recently that NASA might delay an agreement to launch astronauts to the International Space Station on a Falcon 9 rocket, for this reason.
The space agency seems to warm up to the idea.
A NASA advisory group called the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel just said during a meeting at the Kennedy Space Center that SpaceX’s load-and-go rocket fueling method could be safe after all, even with astronauts inside the rocket.
The load-and-go method involves freezing propellant to shrink it down, so there’s room to stuff even more propellant inside.
But once it’s frozen, it needs to be loaded just before launch and after all the astronauts and cargo are already aboard, and a single stray spark or another flow can set off an explosion that is taking both down the rocket and anyone unfortunate enough.
The Critics have rightfully pointed out that despite SpaceX’s many successful launches, a Falcon 9 rocket did explode back in the year 2016 during a load-and-go procedure while frozen propellant was stuffing onto the missile.
Nobody was hurt since the missile was unmanned as of yet, SpaceX has never launched a rocket with a crew inside, but it is easy to see why NASA may hesitant on letting astronauts inside the missile-like.
But that is a single launch out of over 50, and the NASA advisory group thinks it is a low enough risk so long as SpaceX is cautious to make sure nothing blows up.
Panel member and former astronaut Jeff Brent Jr. says the following during their meeting this week.
I sense that assuming there are adequate, verifiable controls identified and implemented for the likely hazard causes, and those who could potentially result in an emergency situation it appears load-and-go is a viable option for the program to consider.
It is easy to say that SpaceX, run by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk who sells flamethrowers and launches cars into space, does not seem like the most dependable company in the world.
But it is tough to launch a rocket at all without exercising some level of caution. So NASA’s growing confidence in SpaceX may justify as a first test launch with live astronauts gets closer.
Hopefully, those launches go well because we always need more people in space.
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