On 28 June 2015, Falcon 9 CRS-7 of SpaceX was en-route to the International Space Station when it failed, causing a massive explosion.
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, spoke about the incident today and why it might have happened.
During the lift-off, everything was normal and there were no signs of possible malfunctions. The explosion occurred shortly before the first stage shutdown. Though there are no concrete reasons as to why this mishap occurred, according to the preliminary conclusion the team believe that the COPV helium container strut in the second stage of the CRS-7 craft failed when the craft reached 3.2Gs. The container should have pressurised at this stage, but instead, it contributed to the massive explosion.
Since these helium bottles are pressurised at 5500 psi and stored in an LOX tank, when the strut fails, explosions happen.
The strut that failed was designed to handle at least 10,000 lbs of load. But in the case of this mission, it failed at just 2,000 lbs.
Musk suggests that from this point forward, every piece of equipment will be double-checked and approved.
During the press conference, Musk was asked for the details of the strut’s maker. Musk remained straightforward and said that nothing good would come out of it if he provided the strut maker’s details.
This is the first mission failure that SpaceX had in over seven years. And because of that fact, Musk suggests that the reason could be that. They’ve gone so long without any failures, which might have resulted in them becoming complacent.