WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — U.S. space firm SpaceX said Friday it has set up a team to investigate why its Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The California-based company said Thursday's incident, that also destroyed the satellite it was carrying, took place about eight minutes in advance of a scheduled rocket test firing at its Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
At that time, the launch vehicle was in the process of being fueled for the test and the anomaly appeared to originate around the rocket's upper stage liquid oxygen tank.
"We are currently in the early process of reviewing approximately 3000 channels of telemetry and video data covering a time period of just 35-55 milliseconds," SpaceX spokesman Phil Larson said in a statement.
The investigation will be oversighted by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and also has the participation of the U.S. space agency NASA, the U.S. Air Force and other industry experts, Larson said.
The launch pad itself was clearly damaged but the scope has yet to be fully determined, he said, noting the company also operates two other launch pads, one in neighboring Kennedy Space Center, and another in California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.
"Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base is in the final stages of an operational upgrade and Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center remains on schedule to be operational in November," said Larson.
"Both pads are capable of supporting Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches. We are confident the two launch pads can support our return to flight and fulfill our upcoming manifest needs."
SpaceX described its business as being "robust," saying it now has about 70 missions on manifest worth over 10 billion U.S. dollars in total.
"We are grateful for the continued support and unwavering confidence that our commercial customers as well as NASA and the United States Air Force have placed in us," the company added.