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SpaceX explosion: “It’s complicated”

Elon Musk, founder of rocket company SpaceX, has admitted that the investigation into a September 1st fireball which destroyed the rocket and its Israeli-owned Amos-6 satellite, says the examination was proving to be the most complex and difficult in the company’s 14-year history.

The complexity is such that even the possibility – however remote – that some sort of foreign object had initiated the explosion had not been ruled out. Musk stated September 9 that a bang, heard prior to the start of the explosion, was “particularly hard to understand”.

Rumours – and they are just rumours – suggest that it could be many months before Musk is permitted to re-start launches. Most experts say that it will not be until November at the earliest before launches re-commence. One report (quoting Reuters, and sourced to the USA’s United Launch Alliance and CEO Tory Bruno) suggests that SpaceX might be grounded for up to a year.

SES’s CCO Ferdinand Kayser, speaking at IBC, said that its planned re-use of a pre-flown 1st stage SpaceX rocket could still take place this year- and certainly this coming winter – provided a launch pad was ready on time.

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