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Elon Musk-led Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has announced a plan to launch its Falcon 9 rockets every 2-3 weeks, once a new launch pad in Florida becomes operational next week.
The ambitious plan will mark the private-sector space firm’s fastest rate of launching rockets on space missions since it started launches in 2010.
SpaceX officials announced the plan just five months after a Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad in Florida. The company has successfully launched only one rocket since then, in January this year.
Meanwhile, the company is also planning to change the design of the Falcon 9 rocket’s turbopump, which provides the rocket engine with propellants, to fix cracks that prompted safety concern among NASA inspectors.
SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in an interview, “We should be launching every two to three weeks … For us, the concern was not the cracks, but do they grow over time? Would these cracks cause a flight failure? I think NASA is used to engines that aren’t quite as robust, so they just don’t want any cracks at all in the turbo machinery.”
SpaceX is one of two companies certified by the U.S. government to fly military and national security satellites, with the other being Boeing-Lockheed Martin JV called United Launch Alliance (UAV). NASA has also hired SpaceX to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
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