garyisabusyguy writes: This Forbes article provides the best analysis of the loss of the last Falcon 9 mission based on information released by Elon Musk to reporters. Highlights include:
- 1. Sound triangulation led them to identify a strut holding helium tank as root cause where the falling helium tank pinched a line causing overpressure in the LOX tank.
- 2. The failure occurred at 2,000 pounds of force, and the struts were rated at 10,000 pounds of force. They initially dismissed this as a cause until sounds triangulation pointed back to the strut
- 3. Further testing of struts in stock found one that failed at 2,000 pounds of force, with further analysis identifying poor grain structure in the metal, which caused weakness
- 4. It will be months before the next launch while SpaceX goes over procurement and QA processes all struts and bolts, and re-assesses any "near misses" with Air Force and NASA
- 5. Next launch will include failure mode software, which will allow recovery of the Dragon module during loss of the launch vehicle since they determined that it could have saved the Dragon module in this lost mission