For seven years, SpaceX basked in the success of 20 space launches. They made spaceflight look too easy until last June 28 when the company experienced its first rocket explosion, a failure that nobody dared to expect.
In a teleconference last July 20, Elon Musk took time to explain what happened with the Falcon 9 rocket explosion.
“To some degree, I think the company became maybe a little bit complacent.”
More specifically, Musk said that the over pressuring event was more likely caused by a steel strut breaking as it held a bottle of high-pressure helium inside the Falcon 9.
The SpaceX founder and CEO hinted at the poor quality of the strut, since it snapped carrying a load of 2, 000 lbs. of force when it was designed to bear 10, 000 lbs.
The failed Falcon 9 launch would have been the company’s seventh resupply mission to the International Space Station.
The company had grown exponentially since its beginning in 2008, its 500 pool of workers reaching over 4, 000 today. Even then, Musk expressed a healthy paranoia over the success of the spaceflight missions by sending out e-mails to each one of the employee, encouraging them to speak out if they find any reason to delay the launch.
“But I think now everyone at the company appreciates just how difficult it is to get rockets to orbit successfully, and I think we’ll be the stronger for it.”