After the disastrous launch pad explosion in September SpaceX is all set to launch a Falcon 9 rocket on Saturday. It is the first return to flight for SpaceX, and it will launch ten satellites for Iridium. Iridium is a mobile and data communication, and the present flight will seek to replace the existing satellites. Since the launch window is very slim, any weather or other disturbance will delay the launch which will be then rescheduled to the next favourable window on Sunday.
High stakes for SpaceX
SpaceX will try to put the disastrous launchpad explosion and get on with the launch. It has much at stake, and its future missions to Mars, resupply missions to ISS are all tied to the successful launch of its Falcon 9 rocket. The September blast of its rocket had destroyed the launch facility and also a satellite of Facebook which sought to provide Internet services to remote regions of Africa. Earlier in2015 also its Dragon cargo spacecraft ferrying good to the ISS had exploded two minutes after liftoff. Both the mishaps had severely dented investor confidence in the privately owned company and pushed it deep into the red.
The July 15 disaster was followed by a series of delays, and it contributed to a loss of a quarter billion dollar. It also brought a drop in revenues after two years of reasonably good sales and profits. Most poignant was the removal of a long-standing phrase from its website which said that it was a profitable company.
SpaceX was created by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is often depicted as a maverick scientists have however declined to comment on the financial state of his company. However, the company’s chief financial officer Bret Johnson was quoted as saying that with $1 billion in cash and zero debt, the financial health of the company is excellent.
The massive explosion which reduced the Dragon Cargo Ship into a fireball was traced to a faulty strut, and the problem has been adequately corrected. The September explosion before the launch was traced to an issue with a pressure vessel in the second-stage liquid oxygen tank. The fault has been rectified, and SpaceX stated that it is changing the process of fueling for now and refabricate its pressure vessels in the future.