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Local aerospace consultant speaks on SpaceX explosion

SpaceX explosion

HUNTSVILLE, Ala.– Early Thursday morning, a SpaceX rocket exploded at a Cape Canaveral launch pad during a standard test firing, losing the vehicle, a Falcon 9, and the payload.

The pad was clear at the time so there were no injuries. SpaceX said the explosion was caused by an anomaly at the launch pad.

The explosion is a very visual reminder, said local independent aerospace consultant Michael Rudolphi.

“When things go wrong in the space business they go wrong in a hurry, and the results are usually fairly catastrophic,” he said.

Rudolphi has worked with NASA and other aerospace companies.

“The explosion, it seems to have originated fairly high up in the rocket, so it’s not down at the main engines, it doesn’t appear to be at the upper stage engines, it’s somewhere up above that,” he explained.

He said from what he saw, it doesn’t appear to be a main engine or main structure failure.

“The critical part of this now is the investigation, and finding out what went wrong,”said Rudolphi.

He added that this is exactly why they do these kinds of tests.

“We’ll learn a lot from this. You know and we might learn, we’re likely to learn something about the spaceship that will save us trouble years and years to come, ” he said.

Rudolphi thinks it could take them anywhere from six to eight months to complete the investigation, and before they try to launch again.