- SpaceX blew up an experimental engine during a test at its McGregor, Texas, development facility on Saturday.
- No one was hurt in the incident, SpaceX said.
- The new engine model is more powerful and intended to replace the engines on its current Falcon 9 rocket system.
- However, the company says damage to its engine-testing bay won’t delay its ambitious launch schedule.
Despite blowing up an experimental upgrade to its go-to rocket engines, SpaceX says it can continue its record-setting year.
The aerospace company, founded by billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk, has pulled off 16 rocket launches in 2017. That’s double SpaceX’s launch count from last year and a frequency rivaling that of its biggest competitors.
What’s more, SpaceX hopes to lift off three more of its Falcon 9 rockets — a reusable launch vehicle that’s poised to significantly lower the cost of access to space (and maybe save humankind) — before the year’s end.
But as Christian Davenport first reported for the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, an explosion rocked SpaceX’s development facility in McGregor, Texas, over the weekend.
The blast occurred on one of two heavy-duty stands the company uses to test Merlin rocket engines — nine of which line the bottom of every reusable Falcon 9 booster.
“No one was injured and all safety protocols were followed during the time of this incident,” a SpaceX spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement. “We are now conducting a thorough and fully transparent investigation of the root cause. SpaceX is committed to our current manifest and we do not expect this to have any impact on our launch cadence.”
That doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have a new problem to deal with, though.
An explosive leak?
<img src="http://static2.businessinsider.com/image/5a03997e35876e1d008b4d82-1715/spacex-merlin-rocket-engine-test-stand-bay-mcgregor-texas-cropped.jpg" alt="spacex merlin rocket engine test stand bay mcgregor texas cropped" data-mce-source="SpaceX" data-mce-caption="A Merlin rocket engine in a Read More Here