In an unfortunate incident, a SpaceX rocket engine caught fire and exploded during a test at company’s facility in McGregor, Texas. The California-based aerospace making company said in a statement that its most recent and advanced rocket engine got exploded while undergoing a qualification test last Sunday due to some unknown reasons. It informed that no one was injured and all safety protocols were followed during at the time of the explosion.
SpaceX reported that they are conducting a thorough and fully transparent investigation to find out the root cause of the explosion. The statement also said that SpaceX is committed to its current manifest and that it does not expect this mishap to have caused any impact on their launch cadence. Actually, on Sunday SpaceX was testing it’s completely new “Block 5” Merlin engine which was to be used during the upcoming Falcon 9 launches in late 2018.
The explosion took place during a LOX drop test in which the engine is filled with liquid oxygen fuel and tested for any kind leakage. Initially, everything went fine but, suddenly in between the test, the liquid oxygen ignited and caught fire which led to the explosion.
SpaceX said that the test bay on which the explosion occurred might take two to four weeks to get fully functional. SpaceX was having a great year this time, and this was the first explosion case that was registered by the company for the current year. It seems that SpaceX is too serious about the explosion and has informed that all the tests from the “block 5” version of the engines in the Falcon 9 are suspended until the experts find out the exact reason of the explosion. This is not the first case of explosion for SpaceX.
In 2015, its Falcon 9 rocket caught fire just a few minutes after its liftoff from Cape Carnival but no one was hurt that time as it was an unmanned mission. In 2016, a Falcon 9 rocket engine exploded during refueling at Florida launchpad. The year 2017, proved to be the most successful year for SpaceX it has successfully launched 16 space missions till date and two more launch missions are scheduled to take place in the upcoming weeks. Also, it successfully re-landed 13 rockets which would be used again for future launches. The Block 5 explosion is not a serious issue for SpaceX at present because currently, it is using ‘Block 4′ Merlin engine for its Falcon 9 launches. According to SpaceX, Block 5 is the upgraded and advanced version of block 4 and is designed to provide more thrust and improved landing ability to its rocket.