SpaceX said it had determined that a Sept. 1 launch-pad explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 and its satellite payload likely was caused by a breach in the liquid oxygen tank.
But investigators for the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company haven’t yet determined the root cause of the Falcon 9 accident at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Investigators from SpaceX, the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA continue to review engineering data and video imagery in their joint probe.
“Preliminary review of the data and debris suggests that a large breach in the cryogenic helium system of the second stage liquid oxygen tank took place,” the company said Sept. 23. “All plausible causes are being tracked in an extensive fault tree and carefully investigated.”
SpaceX added that its “manufacturing and production is continuing in a methodical manner,” as teams build engines, tanks and other systems ruled outside the scope of the investigation.
The company said it could resume rocket launches as soon as November.