Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Space-X Rocket Explosion Caused $118 Million In Cargo To Be Lost
NASA's inspector general said Tuesday that an explosion of a SpaceX rocket last June destroyed a docking adapter crucial to converting the International Space Station for manned missions.
The report, which said the explosion cost $118 million in cargo, came on the one-year anniversary of the Falcon 9 rocket exploding just minutes after launch on Florida's Space Coast on June 28, 2015.
In the report, the inspector general admonished NASA for not being more specific about risks associated with resupply launches, meaning NASA management cannot properly evaluate risks.
The one-size-fits-all approach, which, according to the report, essentially places all commercial resupply launches at the lowest level of risk, "deviated from existing procedures for evaluating launch risks."
"As a result, risk mitigation procedures are not consistently employed and the subjective launch ratings the Agency uses provide insufficient information to NASA management concerning actual launch risks."
In addition, the report said NASA does not have in place a consistent way to investigate mishaps, which "could affect its ability to determine the root cause of a launch failure."
The report comes as SpaceX prepares to launch another resupply mission to the Space Station on July 18 from Space Coast.
The docking adapter was expected to be one of two sent to the space station, but now the site will function with just one during unmanned test flights, planned to start in May.
International Space Station officials have previously told the inspector general that they will have a replacement adapter installed before regular commercial crew missions start.
The report ended with six recommendations, including updating NASA policies for mishaps, making sure ISS is prepared for one fewer available adapter and standardize investigation plans for NASA payloads.
According to the report, NASA's associate administrator agreed with five recommendations. But the report said the adminstrator disagreed with the recommendation to start quantifying and communicate upcoming mission risks.
email@example.com or 407-420-5256; follow on Twitter at @marcosantana.
Copyright © 2016, Orlando Sentinel