SpaceX founder Elon Musk has admitted that pinning down the precise problem for the Sept 1 explosion on one of his Falcon 9 rockets, and which caused the loss of the Amos-6 satellite, was proving to be “vexing and difficult”.
Musk was speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico on September 27th, and told delegates that the most likely reasons for the explosion had now been ruled out. “We’ve eliminated all of the obvious possibilities” for the problem, he said. “So what remains are less probable.”
A September 23rd statement from SpaceX talked of a breach in the rocket’s Helium system.
Musk added that solving the explosion remained the top priority for SpaceX.
An identification of the problem is crucial if SpaceX is to return to normal flight operation during November. A delay to determining the probable cause could easily lead to delaying launches into 2017.