The company will make its return to space on January 8, when the new Iridium NEXT will launch from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4E. “SpaceX greatly appreciates the support of our customers and partners throughout this process, and we look forward to fulfilling our manifest in 2017 and beyond,” SpaceX said in a statement.
Over the past four months SpaceX has been working with multiple agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA to determine the cause of the September 1 incident.
Investigators scoured more than 3,000 channels of video and telemetry data covering a very brief timeline of events – there were just 93 milliseconds from the first sign of anomalous data to the loss of the second stage, followed by loss of the vehicle.
They concluded the failure was likely due to the accumulation of oxygen between the COPV liner and overwrap in a void or a buckle in the liner, leading to ignition and the subsequent failure of the COPV.
Several credible causes for the failure were identified, all of them involving the accumulation of super chilled LOX or SOX in buckles under the overwrap. The COPV configuration has now be changed to allow the loading of hellium at a higher temperature that was previously the case.